January unemployment rate sets new record low, nearly 40,000 fewer unemployed

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Alabama’s unemployment rate is down to 3.7 percent — a new record low.

The state released preliminary, seasonally adjusted numbers Monday morning showing the jobless rate declined one-tenth of a percent in January from December’s revised rate of 3.8 percent, well below January 2017’s rate of 5.5%. 

January’s rate represents 80,841 unemployed persons, compared to 82,378 in December and 120,788 in January 2017. 

“As we start a new year, we’re pleased to announce that we’re starting off with a new record low unemployment rate,” Governor Kay Ivey said of the news. “Nearly 40,000 fewer people are counted as unemployed, also setting a new record low. We have been working hard for months to bring quality, high-paying jobs to Alabama, and we’re putting our people back to work. We will continue this work in 2018, and we hope to maintain these fantastic numbers.”
The U.S. jobless rate continues to hold steady at 4.1 percent, making Alabama’s unemployment rate is four-tenths of a percent better.
“It is not uncommon for preliminary rates to be adjusted as more precise data becomes available, especially around highly seasonal periods, such as the holidays,” said Fitzgerald Washington, Secretary of the Department of Labor. “Even with the adjustments, we are still in an extremely good place. It was recently announced that our yearly average unemployment rate in 2017 dropped more than any other state in the country. Our wage and salary employment continues to show yearly increases, and all 67 counties have experienced significant yearly drops in their unemployment rates, some as high as 4.9 percentage points.”
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 17,700, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+6,000), the education and health services sector (+5,600), and the professional and business services sector (+4,800), among others.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are:
  • Shelby County: 3.0%
  • Cullman County: 3.5%
  • Marshall, Madison, Elmore, and Blount Counties: 3.6%
Counties with the highest unemployment rates are:
  • Wilcox County: 10.4%
  • Clarke County: 8.1%
  • Lowndes County: 7.5%.
All 67 counties experienced yearly drops in their unemployment rates, ranging from 1.2 percentage points in Autauga County to 4.9 percentage points in Wilcox County.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are:
  • Vestavia Hills: 2.5%
  • Homewood and Hoover: 2.8%
  • Alabaster and Northport: 2.9%
Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are:
  • Prichard: 7.7%
  • Selma: 7.0%
  • Anniston: 5.8%