Walker unemployment rate rises to 3.8%

By ED HOWELL
Posted 7/20/19

Walker County's unemployment rose from 3 percent in May to 3.8 percent in June, while the state touted a record low rate of 3.5 percent. According to statistics released by the Alabama …

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Walker unemployment rate rises to 3.8%

Posted

Walker County's unemployment rose from 3 percent in May to 3.8 percent in June, while the state touted a record low rate of 3.5 percent. 

According to statistics released by the Alabama Department of Labor on Friday, the county rate compared favorably to the 5 percent posted in June 2018.

The number of unemployed people in Walker County rose from 513 in May to 974 in June - although an increase is usually typical for the summer months in this area due to slowdowns and school being out of session. The county had a civilian labor force of 25,922 people. 

Winston County also rose from 3.3 percent to 3.9 percent in June, compared to the 4.8 percent posted in June 2019. 

The seasonally adjusted state rate declined from 3.7 percent to 3.5 percent in June, which is lower than the 4.1 percent posted in June of last year. The seasonally adjusted national rate rose from 3.6 percent to 3.7 percent in June, versus 4 percent in June 2018.

June unemployment rates for other surrounding counties included Blount, 3 percent (an increase from 2.5 percent im May); Cullman, 3.1 percent (up from 2.5 percent); Fayette, 3.8 percent (up from 3.1 percent); Jefferson, 3.3 percent (up from 2.7 percent); Marion, 4 percent (up from 3.4 percent); Tuscaloosa, 3.4 percent (up from 2.7 percent). 

Marion County had the highest unemployment in the area, ranking 24th highest out of 67 counties, while Winston ranked 28th. Fayette was 31st highest, followed by Walker at 32nd.

Blount County was the the eighth lowest in the state, while Cullman was 11th lowest. Jefferson was 17th lowest, followed by Tuscaloosa at 22nd lowest. 

The lowest rate in the state was in Shelby County, at 2.5 percent. Wilcox had the highest at 7.3 percent, followed by Greene County at 6.8 percent. All but 12 counties had rates below 5 percent. 

According to a release from Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington, Alabama set several new economic records in June, as the state rate was a record low. June’s rate represents 2,160,931 employed people, a new record high, and represents 10,456 more than last month’s count, and 48,952 more than in June 2018. The number of people counted as unemployed dropped to a new record low of 79,378, which represents a drop of 9,853 people from June 2018.

“Another month, and yet another set of broken records,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in the release.  “It’s so exciting to be able to announce these great numbers month after month.  It’s always positive to announce a new record low unemployment rate, but we also saw more people working than ever before, fewer unemployed than ever before, more people in the workforce than ever before, and finally, more jobs than ever before.  These gains are momentous, and we certainly hope they continue as they year progresses.”

The civilian labor force increased over the year by 39,099 to a record high 2,240,309. The civilian labor force represents the number of people, aged 16 and over, who are either working or looking for work, excluding the military and those in institutions.

The state's economy is supporting more jobs than ever before, Washington said.  

“There are over 37,000 more jobs in Alabama today than a year ago. Those jobs are coming with the second highest average weekly earnings in history.  Workers are earning an extra $44.76 per week than they were a year ago, and $21.91 more than they were just last month. Two of our employment sectors saw their highest average weekly earnings: the trade, transportation, and utilities sector and the professional and business services sector. So not only are we gaining jobs, but Alabamians are bringing home more in their paychecks.”

"All 67 counties saw declines in their over-the-year unemployment rates, with drops ranging from half a percentage point to more than three percentage points," the release said. "Wilcox County, which traditionally has the state’s highest unemployment rate, saw its rate drop by 3.4 percentage points to 7.3%, its third lowest rate."

Washington tried to put the statistics in perspective, pointing to Wilcox County. 

“During the recession, the county’s unemployment rate peaked at 31 percent in February 2010. Nearly one in three people in that county’s labor force were out of work.  Now, they are at a near record low unemployment rate,” he said.