Unemployment rate drops again for Dallas County

Published 4:38 pm Saturday, June 10, 2017

Dallas County’s unemployment rate has continued to decline for four straight months.

According to April’s unemployment numbers released from the Alabama Department of Labor, Dallas County’s unemployment rate fell from 8.4 percent in March to 6.9 percent in April. Those numbers reflect a 1.5 percent decrease in just one month’s time.

Last year at this time, Dallas County had an unemployment rate of 8 percent.

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According to Wayne Vardaman, executive director for the Selma and Dallas County Economic Development Authority, April’s rate is the lowest it’s been since 2000. Vardaman said EDA records show 8 percent as the next lowest the county’s rate has been since 2000.

“Low unemployment of 6.9 percent is the best I can remember and as good as that is, we still have work to do to attempt to drive Dallas County’s unemployment rate even lower,” Vardaman said in a press release.

Vardaman said the numbers show that 75 people in Dallas County found jobs from in from March to April.

The state unemployment rate declined slightly from 5.8 percent in March to 5.4 percent in April. According to Gov. Kay Ivey, 50,000 more Alabamians are working now compared to this time last year.

“This represents thousands of Alabama families that now have more opportunity than before,” Ivey said in a press release. “I am proud they have opportunities to put their skills into action. We haven’t seen an unemployment rate this low in nearly nine years.”

According to the Alabama Department of Labor, the last time the state’s unemployment rate was at or below 5.4 percent was May of 2008. Vardaman said May and June unemployment numbers would most likely increase due to high school and college students entering the workforce during summer break.

Dallas County is one of nine counties with an unemployment rate of 6.6 and above. Among those counties, Dallas County is second best with Choctaw County coming in just ahead at 6.7 percent. The counties with the highest rates in the state are Lowndes at 8.1 percent, Clarke at 8.5 percent and Wilcox at 11.7 percent.

Prichard, Selma and Bessemer have the highest rates among major cities in the state.

“On top of the drop in the unemployment rate, we’ve also reached a huge milestone in wage and salary employment,” said Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. “We’ve long said that reaching the two million jobs mark would be a true indicator of economic health. We’ve surpassed that number for the first time in almost nine years.”

Wage and salary employment measured in at 2,001,800 in April, reflecting a growth of 10,400.