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Alabama’s unemployment rate falls to 9.9 percent

Alabama’s 9.9 percent unemployment rate in May is down slightly from April, and the reduction comes after Gov. Kay Ivey relaxed some restrictions meant to slow the spread of COVID-19 and allowed more businesses to open. 

The state’s revised unemployment rate in April was 13.8 percent. The state’s 9.9 percent unemployment rate in May is above the May 2019’s rate of 3 percent.

May’s rate represents 221,811 unemployed persons, down from April’s 302,535 unemployed Alabamians, according to the Alabama Department of Labor. 

“This month’s decrease in the unemployment rate reflects that people are returning to work following the pandemic-related shutdown,” Ivey said in a statement Friday. “While we are nowhere near pre-pandemic levels, a monthly decrease of nearly four percentage points is certainly a positive. Alabama, along with the rest of the nation, will be feeling the impacts brought on by this virus for months to come. My administration is committed to helping return Alabamians to their jobs safely, and to helping Alabama businesses to reopen and grow.”

Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said  in a statement that while the state is still far short of last year’s economic markers, there has been significant improvement over last month. 

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“More than 80,000 fewer people were counted as unemployed last month, while the number of employed rose by more than 128,300,” Fitzgerald said. 

Wage and salary employment increased in May by 42,500, according to the department. 

Average weekly earnings increased to a record high in May, rising to $905.25 per week, representing an increase of $66.43 over the year.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Clay County at 5.6 percent, Geneva County at 6.3 percent, and Shelby County at 6.5 percent. 

Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 19.3 percent, Lowndes County at 18.3 percent and Greene County at 16.4 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 5.2 percent, Homewood at 5.4 percent and Madison at 6.2 percent.  

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Prichard at 18.6 percent, Selma at 17.1 percent and Gadsden at 15.7 percent.

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Eddie Burkhalter
Written By

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.