Alabama set five new economic records in June, including a new low for unemployment, but the news wasn’t as good for Elmore, Coosa and Tallapoosa counties, according to the state department of labor.
June’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 3.5%, beating the previous record of 3.7%. June’s rate represents 2,160,931 employed people, also a new record, and represents 10,456 more than May and 48,952 more than in June 2018.
“Another month and yet another set of broken records,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “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 the year progresses.”
But the unemployment rates in Elmore, Coosa and Tallapoosa counties ticked up from May to June although they remained substantially below levels in June 2018.
Elmore County’s rate went up from 2.4% in May to 3% in June, Coosa’s went up from 2.8% to 3.6% and Tallapoosa’s went up from 2.8% to 3.5%.
In June 2018, Coosa’s unemployment rate was 4.9%, Elmore’s 4% and Tallapoosa’s 4.9%.
Statewide, the civilian labor force increased over the year by 39,099 to a record high of 2,240,309. The civilian labor force represents the number of people 16 and older who are either working or looking for work, excluding the military and those in institutions.
The number of people counted as unemployed dropped to a new record low of 79,378, a drop of 9,853 people from June 2018.
“Our economy is supporting more jobs than ever before,” Alabama Labor Secretary Fitzgerald 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.”
Total private industry average weekly earnings measured $860.73 in June, up from $838.82 in May and $815.97 in June 2018.
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 37,300 with gains in the professional and business services sector (+8,000), the construction sector (+7,800) and the leisure and hospitality sector (+6,800), among others.
Wage and salary employment increased in June by 6,600. Monthly gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector (+1,500), the trade, transportation and utilities sector (+1,100) and the construction sector (+1,000), among others.
The trade, transportation and utilities sector and the professional and business sector’s average weekly earnings measured $702.96 and $1,087.97, respectively, which represents both sectors’ record high earnings.
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. 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.
“To put this in perspective, take a look at Wilcox County,” Washington said. “During the recession, the county’s unemployment rate peaked at 31% 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.”
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby at 2.5%, Marshall at 2.8% and Baldwin at 2.9%. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox at 7.3%, Greene and Perry at 6.8% and Clarke at 6.5%.