Alabama jobless rate drops to 3.4% as recovery continues

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Alabama’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.4% in May, down sharply from a year earlier as the economy added jobs while it recovered from the pandemic, the state said Friday.

The jobless rate fell from 3.6% in April, while wage and salary employment increased by 4,700, the Department of Labor said in an announcement. The rate was a substantial improvement from the 7.9% recorded in May 2020, when nearly 175,000 were jobless compared to about 79,000 last month.

Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said nearly all sectors of the economy were recovering, and paychecks were getting fatter.

“Once again, our average weekly wages are at new record high, representing an almost $67 per week over-the-year increase. Both the leisure and hospitality and manufacturing sectors are showing record high wages as well, with significant yearly increases,” he said.

Shelby County in metro Birmingham had the lowest unemployment rate at 1.8%, followed by Blount County at 1.9%. Located in rural western Alabama, Wilcox County was highest in the state by far at 8.8%, followed by neighboring Lowndes County at 8.2%.

Republished with the permission of the Associated Press.