Unemployment rate improves from February to March

Published 10:12 pm Monday, April 18, 2016

Unemployment dipped slightly from February to March but is still higher than it was this time last year.

The jobless rate in Dallas County fell from 9.5 percent to 9.1 percent over the previous two months. The rate was 8.8 percent in March 2015.

The current number represents 1,409 people looking for work, up from 1,376 people last year.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley released statewide unemployment figures Friday. Across Alabama, unemployment held steady at 6.2 percent.

“Alabama’s unemployment rate continues to hold steady, all the while showing labor force and employment growth,” Governor Bentley said. “The growth is very encouraging, as we continue to see higher numbers of people working than we have in nearly eight years. Employers are hiring in Alabama, and we have a workforce ready for a job. Our efforts will continue to put Alabamians back to work.”

In the first three months of the year, Alabama’s wage and salary employment grew by 21,500.

In January, economists at the University of Alabama’s College of Business and Economic Research predicted wage and salary growth of 29,450 jobs for the entire year.

“The number of jobs our economy is currently supporting is extremely encouraging. We’re less than 8,000 jobs away from meeting economists’ predictions for job growth in 2016, and we’re only three months into the year,” Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington said.

Of Alabama’s 67 counties, 64 experienced an unemployment rate decrease in March. The other three counties’ rates remained the same.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rate are Shelby County at 4.6 percent, Elmore County at 5.2 percent and Cherokee County at 5.3 percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment rate are Wilcox County at 13.9 percent, Lowndes County at 11.1 percent and Clarke County at 10.8 percent.

Of major cities in Alabama, Selma had the highest jobless rate at 10 percent, followed by Prichard and Bessemer at 9.5 percent.

Vestavia Hills at 3.9 percent and Homewood and Hoover at 4.4 percent had the lowest jobless rate among cities.