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Jobless rate tops 10% in Selma, 8% in county

The Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL) recently released February unemployment figures showing Selma with an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent and Dallas County with an unemployment rate of 8.2 percent.

Both were an improvement over January numbers, but still significantly inflated compared to February 2020 numbers.

In Selma, the February rate was a slight improvement over January’s rate of 10.8 percent, but still high enough to mark it among the state’s major cities facing the highest unemployment rate – Selma was one again sandwiched between Prichard, 11.1 percent, and Bessemer, 7.3 percent.

Dallas County likewise improved over January’s rate of 8.6 percent, but was listed as one of the counties facing the state’s highest unemployment rates along with Wilcox County, 11.7 percent, Lowndes County, 11.6 percent, and Perry County, 9.0 percent.

Still, both were well above February 2020 rates, which saw Selma with an unemployment rate of 5.7 percent and Dallas County with a rate of 5.0 percent.

Statewide, the February jobless rate came in at 4.0 percent, a modest improvement over January’s rate of 4.3 percent.

The February rate represents just over 91,000 unemployed Alabamians compared to January, which saw more than 97,700 Alabamians listed as unemployed.

“The unemployment rate continues to drop and is getting closer to the lows we enjoyed pre-pandemic,” said ADOL Secretary Fitzgeral Washington in a press release. “While this is good news, the number of unemployed people is still higher than last year.”

February saw an increase in wage and salary employment of 14,500, with the most significant gains seen in the leisure and hospitality sector, which added about 4,600 jobs last month.

But wage and salary employment has also decreased by 65,500 over the year, with the biggest losses, roughly 17,400, felt in the leisure and hospitality sector.

“As COVID cases go down and vaccinations increase, we hope to see improvements in all industries,” Washington said in the release. “In addition, as travel picks up and thoughts turn to vacations, the leisure and hospitality industry should see their numbers looking even better.”