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Unemployment dips to pandemic low of 3.6%

By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News

Alabama’s unemployment rate ticked down to 3.6% in April from 3.8% in March.

That compares to a pandemic-high 13.2% in April 2020, the height of the state’s COVID-19 slow-down and precautions.

April’s rate represents 79,332 unemployed persons, a post-pandemic record low, compared to 84,716 in March and 288,253 in April 2020, the Alabama Department of Labor said this morning.

“Alabama continues to see a decline in unemployment, as vaccines roll out and businesses expand hiring,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement. “Yet again, we’ve reached a new post-pandemic low unemployment rate as we edge closer and closer to our previous pre-pandemic record low.

The number of unemployed people is the lowest so far in 2021, Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said

“There are more open jobs than there are unemployed people,” Washington said. “When it comes to businesses adding jobs, our over-the-year job growth is the highest it’s been in over 21 years.”

Ivey earlier this month announced she was ending the state’s participation in all federally funded pandemic unemployment compensation programs on June 19. She cited the state’s recent low unemployment numbers and some businesses’ struggles to find workers as reasons for ending the extra benefits.

In April, ADOL’s Help Wanted Online data, which measures online job openings, registered 84,986 job listings statewide.

The number of people counted as employed increased 253,632 over the year, to 2,152,651.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates were: Shelby, 1.9%; DeKalb, Limestone and Marshall, 2%; Cherokee, Cullman and Franklin at 2.1%.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates were: Wilcox, 8.8%; Lowndes, 8.1%; and Perry, 6.8%.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates were: Alabaster, 1.7%; Athens, 2%; and Homewood, 2.1%.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates were: Selma, 7.3%; Prichard, 5.9%;  and Bessemer, 4.8%.

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