By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News
Alabama’s unemployment rate for March was 3.8%, down from 4% in February.
That compares to a record-low 2.6% in March 2020, right before COVID-19 and precautions to stop its spread led to a double-digit spike in unemployment.
March’s rate represents 84,670 unemployed people, compared to 91,041 in February and 57,895 in March 2020. Alabama is comfortably below the national average of 6%, the Alabama Department of Labor said this morning.
“Once again, our unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since the pandemic began,” Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said in a statement. “We’re still not where we were before, but tremendous progress is being made,” said Washington. “We have more jobs in March than we’ve had all year, and we’re seeing monthly wage growth in several industries.”
Wage and salary employment increased in March by 9,100 to 2,019,500, the highest recorded level in 2021. The biggest monthly gains were seen in government, financial activities and manufacturing.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates were: Shelby and Cullman, 2%; Limestone, Franklin and Blount at 2.1%; and Marshall and Cleburne Counties at 2.2%.
Counties with the highest unemployment rates were: Wilcox, 11.6%; Lowndes, 10.6%; and Perry, 8.1%.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates were: Madison,1.8%; Alabaster, Homewood, Hoover, and Vestavia Hills,1.9%; and Athens, 2.1%.
Major cities with the highest unemployment rates were: Prichard, 10%; Selma, 9.4%; and Bessemer, 6.4%.
“As the unemployment rate steadily drops, our focus must turn to the number of people still unemployed in Alabama,” Washington said. “(Labor) launched its 53rdCareer Center in Washington County on April 6. This new center furthers our efforts to serve every county in Alabama. Our career centers stand ready to assist the unemployed in getting back into the workforce by providing training, educational assistance, and assistance in finding and applying for jobs. We can also assist employers with their hiring needs.”