Staff reports


Alabama reached a record low unemployment rate of 3.7 percent in February, according to the Alabama Department of Labor.

Elmore County had the second-lowest unemployment rate in the state at 3.3 percent, which was down from 3.8 percent in January and 4.0 percent in February 2018.

Sixty-six of Alabama’s 67 counties experienced drops in their unemployment rate this month, and 64 of 67 counties saw equal or lower rates than in February 2018.

The state’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted February unemployment rate is down from January’s 3.8 percent and below February 2018’s rate of 4.0.

“We’ve shattered employment records for nine months in a row now,” ADL Fitzgerald Washington said. “People are continuing to join the labor force with the expectation that they will get a job — and they’re getting jobs.”

February’s rate represents 2,127,626 employed persons compared to 2,123,650 last month and 2,100,195 in February 2018, representing yearly growth of 27,431. In all, 82,304 were counted as unemployed, the second-lowest number ever recorded, compared to 83,398 in January and 87,534 in February 2018.

“More than 27,000 Alabamians are working now than a year ago and they’re bringing home more money in their paychecks, which is great news for our economy,” Washington said.

Total private average weekly earnings rose to $839.59 in February, representing an over-the-year increase of $33.54.

Wage and salary employment increased over the year by 34,700, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+7,100), the trade, transportation and utilities sector (+6,300), and the professional and business services sector (+5,100), among others.

Wage and salary employment increased in February by 15,300, with monthly gains in the professional and business services sector (+5,400), the government sector (+4,000), and the education and health services sector (+3,200), among others.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby at 2.9; Marshall, Madison, Elmore and Cullman at 3.3; and Tuscaloosa and Morgan at 3.4.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox at 9.8, Clarke at 7.6 and Dallas at 7.3.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are Vestavia Hills, Northport and Homewood at 2.7; Alabaster at 2.8; and Hoover and Madison at 2.9.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are Selma at 8.5, Prichard at 6.8 and Mobile at 5.4.