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Unemployment rate continues steady decrease

The Alabama Department of Labor is continuing to keep a close eye on the unemployment rate statewide and by county as more people return to work across the state.

ADOL Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced this week that Alabama’s May unemployment rate is 3.4 percent, down from April’s rate of 3.6 percent and well below May 2020’s rate of 7.9 percent.  

For Franklin County, the May unemployment rate squeaked just under the April rate, down to 2 percent from 2.1 percent, as compared to 5.5 percent in May 2020.

According to the ADOL, those rates account for 290 people unemployed in Franklin County in May, as compared to 302 in April.

The improvement is perhaps best credited, however, to a decrease in the workforce: According to the ADOL, Franklin County’s civilian labor force in April was 14,645 strong, compared to 14,389 in May.

“Our record-breaking streak is continuing in May, and we hope it continues throughout the rest of the year,” said Gov. Kay Ivey. “Yet again, we’ve dropped our unemployment rate, and each month we are getting closer and closer to our pre-pandemic record low unemployment rate of 2.6 percent.

“Our economy is adding jobs, and earlier barriers to joining the workforce have been significantly reduced. In fact, there are more job postings than there are people counted as unemployed. Alabama is, once again, open for business.”

The state is also reporting higher wages for those employed.

“As we continue to see improvement in nearly all sectors of the economy, we’re also seeing record high wages in Alabama,” said Washington. “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. The economy is responding as we expected to labor force fluctuations brought about by the pandemic.”

Franklin County boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state, joined by Dekalb and Marshall at 2 percent and eclipsed by Shelby at 1.8 percent and Blount at 1.9 percent, according to the ADOL.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox County at 8.8 percent, Lowndes County at 8.2 percent and Perry County at 7 percent.