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County unemployment rate drops to 6.7 percent for May

As Franklin County attempts to get “back to normal” following months of the continuing coronavirus pandemic, some might point to unemployment figures as a good sign: the county’s May unemployment rate registered at 6.7 percent, as compared to April’s 11.3 percent, according to the Alabama Department of Labor.

ADOL secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced last week that the state’s unemployment rate is 9.9 percent, down from April’s revised rate of 13.8 percent, though still well above May 2019’s rate of 3.0 percent.  

“This month’s decrease in the unemployment rate reflects that people are returning to work following the pandemic-related shutdown,” said Gov. Kay Ivey. “While we are nowhere near pre-pandemic levels, a monthly decrease of nearly 4 percentage points is certainly a positive.”

In Franklin County, April’s numbers showed 1,596 people unemployed and 12,534 employed. May’s numbers, by contrast, show 972 unemployed and 13,585 employed.

In May 2019, unemployment was at 330; employment was at 14,315.

“While we are still far short of last year’s economic markers, we did show significant improvement over the past month,” said Washington. “More than 80,000 fewer people were counted as unemployed last month, while the number of employed rose by more than 128,300.”

Statewide, May’s 9.9 percent unemployment rate represents 221,811 unemployed persons, compared to 302,535 in April and 68,057 in May 2019.

“Alabama, along with the rest of the nation, will be feeling the impacts brought on by this virus for months to come,” Ivey said. “My administration is committed to helping return Alabamians to their jobs safely and to helping Alabama businesses to reopen and grow.”

According to the ADOL, 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. Highest unemployment is in Wilcox County at 19.3.

Although June unemployment figures will not be available until later in July, the ADOL has released the official count for initial unemployment claims filed during the week of June 14-20.

Statewide, 18,671 initial claims were filed either online or by telephone during this period, with 11,311 of those being COVID-19 related.

In Franklin County, 87 unemployment claims were filed for that week – compared to these figures over the course of the pandemic:

  • 96 for the week ending June 13
  • 93 for the week ending June 6
  • 94 for the week ending May 30
  • 125 for the week ending May 23
  • 120 for the week ending May 16
  • 124 for the week ending May 9
  • 123 for the week ending May 2
  • 341 for the week ending April 25
  • 275 for the week ending April 18
  • 354 for the week ending April 11
  • 565 for the week ending April 4
  • 675 for the week ending March 28
  • 26 for the week ending March 21
  • 9 for the week ending March 14

Statewide unemployment peaked at 77,515 claims in a single week, for the week ending April 11.

For more information regarding how the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the unemployment rate, visit https://www.bls.gov/bls/bls-covid-19-questions-and-answers.htm.

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