Walker jobless rate stays at 3.9%

By ED HOWELL, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 12/28/17

Walker County’s unemployment rate remained at 3.9 percent in November, in a month where none of the counties in the state were in double digits and the state jobless figure set another record low, according to the Alabama Department of …

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Walker jobless rate stays at 3.9%

Posted

Walker County’s unemployment rate remained at 3.9 percent in November, in a month where none of the counties in the state were in double digits and the state jobless figure set another record low, according to the Alabama Department of Labor.

That placed Walker County as the 29th highest out of 67 counties, putting it about midrange. In the 2016 annual average, the county ranked as 15th highest in the state at 7.6 percent.

The department, which released figures last week, noted the county was unchanged from October’s rate, although it was lower than the 6.9 percent posted for November 2016.

An estimated 990 people were unemployed out of an estimated civilian labor force of 25,155. The number of unemployed a year ago was 1,779, while the civilian labor force at the time was 25,720.

Walker’s 3.9 percent unemployment rate in November compared to 4.1 percent for the nation (which was unchanged) and 3.5 percent for the state (which was down from 3.6 percent in October.)

 In November 2016, the state rate was 6.2 percent, while the national rate was 4.4 percent.

The highest unemployment in the state was 9.3 percent in Wilcox County, followed in second place by Clarke County at 6.7 percent. Fayette County was 20th highest at 4.1 percent (up from 3.8 percent), with Winston County at 21st, also at 4.1 percent (down from 4.2 percent). Marion County was at 32nd place at 3.8 percent, which was unchanged from the month before.

Cullman County had the third lowest unemployment in the state at 3 percent (which was unchanged), while Blount County was unchanged, standing as the eighth lowest at 3.2 percent. Tuscaloosa County was 10th lowest at 3.3 percent (up from 3.1 percent). Jefferson County had the 17th lowest at 3.4 percent, remaining unchanged from October.

The lowest unemployment in the state belonged to Shelby County at 3 percent.

Unemployment rates in November for major cities in the state included Birmingham, 4.1 percent; Hoover, 2.6 percent; and Tuscaloosa, 3.9 percent.

In November, 39 counties out of 67 were below 4 percent, while only 10 counties had a rate of 5 percent or worse.

In a release, Gov. Kay Ivey noted in a statement that October’s low state rate broke records, which themselves were being broken in November. She said the figures show “that we are truly moving forward and proving to everyone that Alabama is a great place to live and do business.

“We have 30,500 more jobs now than we did last year, over 40,000 more people are working, and the number of unemployed has dropped by over 60,000 from last year — the fewest number of people counted as unemployed in Alabama history! We will continue our work to ensure that any Alabamian who wants a job, can find one.”

Fitzgerald Washington, secretary of the state Department of Labor, said construction employment, now at 91,500, is at one of its highest levels in more than eight years.

“Construction employment is an indicator of economic stability, and we have seen a steady increase in construction employment for most of this year. Additionally, our manufacturing employment is at its highest level in nearly nine years, nearing 2008 levels, which are pre-recessionary in Alabama,” he said.

Over the past year, wage and salary employment increased by 30,500 to 2,029,800 employees, the highest number ever recorded, with gains in construction, manufacturing and the leisure and hospitality sector, according to the department.