Walker, Winston fall to 4.1 percent unemployment

By ED HOWELL
Posted 4/21/19

Unemployment rates in Walker and Winston counties decreased to 4.1 percent in March, squarely in the middle of the pack compared to all the other counties in the state although slightly higher than …

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Walker, Winston fall to 4.1 percent unemployment

Posted

Unemployment rates in Walker and Winston counties decreased to 4.1 percent in March, squarely in the middle of the pack compared to all the other counties in the state although slightly higher than the Alabama and national averages. 

Statistics released Friday by the Alabama Department of Labor showed that Walker County declined from 4.4 percent in February, while Winston County fell from 4.3 percent. 

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate for Alabama remained the same at 3.7 percent, while the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stayed at 3.8 percent.

In the comparison with March 2018, Walker County was 4.4 percent at the time, while Winston was at 4.3 percent. The national and state rates a year ago were 4 percent. 

Walker County in March had an estimated 1,040 people unemployed out of an estimated civilian labor force of 25,555 people. Winston County had an estimated 413 out of a job out of an estimated civilian labor force of 9,981. 

In March, Shelby County had the lowest unemployment at 2.8 percent, the only rate in the state below 3 percent, while Wilcox County had the highest at 8.4 percent, the only rate in the state above 7 percent. Walker County had the 30th highest unemployment out of 67 counties, while Winston was 31st. 

Other surrounding rates in March included Tuscaloosa, unchanged at 3.4 percent; Marion, 4.3 percent (down from 4.6 percent in February); Jefferson, 3.6 percent (down from 3.7 percent); Fayette, 3.9 percent (down from 4 percent); Cullman, 3.3 percent (down from 3.4 percent); and Blount, 3.4 percent (down from 3.5 percent). 

Marion County had the 24th highest unemployment rate in the state in March. Fayette had the 31st lowest, six spots behind Winston County. Tuscaloosa was sixth lowest, while Cullman was ninth lowest and Blount was 11th lowest. Jefferson was 16th lowest. 

In the 2018 annual averages, Walker County had the 15th highest unemployment in Alabama at 5 percent, while Winston County was 17th highest at 4.7 percent. Fayette County was 22nd highest 4.6 percent. Marion County was 29th highest at 4.2 percent. 

Last year, Cullman County had the third lowest unemployment average for the year 3.4 percent, while Blount was 13th lowest at 3.6 percent. Tuscaloosa was 20th lowest at 3.9 percent, and Jefferson was 22nd lowest, also at 3.9 percent. 

Meanwhile, Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington emphasized that the number of people counted as employed in Alabama is at a record high. 

“Once again, we’ve shattered employment records in Alabama,” Washington said in a release.  “More people are working now than ever before in Alabama’s history. Employers are continuing to post jobs, companies are moving operations, and our existing businesses are expanding, all of which is great news for Alabamians.”

A total of 2,132,578 people were counted as employed in March, up from 2,127,676 in February, and up 28,953 from March 2018’s count of 2,103,625. March’s rate represents 82,368 unemployed persons,  compared to 82,247 in February and 88,723 in March 2018.

Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted March unemployment rate is 3.7 percent, unchanged from February and remaining at a record low, and well below March 2018’s rate of 4.0 percent. 

“We’re seeing great growth in some of our high wage sectors as well,” Washington said.  “Building construction employment has increased by nearly 11 percent over the year, and aerospace parts and manufacturing is right behind it with more than 10 percent growth.”