MONTGOMERY – Unemployment rose in Talladega and St. Clair counties in January even while setting a record low across the state, according to figures released by Gov. Kay Ivey in a press release Monday.
In Talladega County, the preliminary January jobless rate was 4.6 percent, up from the revised December rate of 3.8 but below the revised January 2017 rate of 7.1. There were 32,584 employed persons and 1,585 unemployed persons in the county in January, compared to 32,955 and 1,295, respectively, in December. The January 2017 figures were 32,071 employed and 2,462 unemployed.
In St. Clair County, the jobless rate rose from December’s revised figure of 3.1 percent to January’s preliminary rate of 3.7. The revised January 2017 rate was 5.4. There were 37,195 employed persons in St. Clair County in January and 1,423 unemployed, compared to 37,458 and 1,191, respectively, in December. The January 2017 numbers were 36,769 employed persons and 2,109 unemployed.
The state’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted January unemployment rate was 3.7 percent, down from December 2017’s revised rate of 3.8 and below January 2017’s rate of 5.5. January’s rate represents 80,841 unemployed persons, compared to 82,378 in December and 120,788 in January 2017.
2,079,871 people were counted as employed, compared to 2,081,176 in December and 2,057,886 in January 2017.
The previous record low unemployment rate measured 3.8 percent in December 2017, which also tied with October and November 2017 and with several months in 2007 (pre-recession in Alabama). The preliminary rates announced for both November and December 2017 were 3.5. Following revisions, those rates are now 3.8.
Each year, preliminary estimates released throughout the year by the states are revised by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in a process known as “annual processing.” Annual processing allows the BLS to align preliminary estimates with more concrete data as it becomes available at the end of the year. That can lead to some preliminary estimates being revised, as was the case with December 2017’s unemployment rate.
“As we start a new year, we’re pleased to announce that we’re starting off with a new record low unemployment rate,” Ivey said of the most recent state figures in the release. “Nearly 40,000 fewer people are counted as unemployed, also setting a new record low. We have been working hard for months to bring quality, high-paying jobs to Alabama, and we’re putting our people back to work. We will continue this work in 2018 and we hope to maintain these fantastic numbers.”
Added state Secretary of Labor Fitzgerald Washington, in the release, “It is not uncommon for preliminary rates to be adjusted as more precise data becomes available, especially around highly seasonal periods, such as the holidays.
“Even with the adjustments, we are still in an extremely good place. It was recently announced that our yearly average unemployment rate in 2017 dropped more than any other state in the country. Our wage and salary employment continues to show yearly increases, and all 67 counties have experienced significant yearly drops in their unemployment rates, some as high as 4.9 percentage points.”
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 17,700, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (plus-6,000), the education and health services sector (plus-5,600) and the professional and business services sector (plus-4,800), among others.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby at 3.0 percent, Cullman County at 3.5 and Marshall, Madison, Elmore, and Blount Counties at 3.6. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox at 10.4, Clarke at 8.1 and Lowndes at 7.5.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are Vestavia Hills at 2.5 percent, Homewood and Hoover at 2.8 and Alabaster and Northport at 2.9. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are Prichard at 7.7, Selma at 7.0 and Anniston at 5.8.