Alabama and Dallas County’s May unemployment rate drops

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Dallas County initial unemployment claims top 5,700 since March.
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By Fred Guarino
The Selma Sun

People are returning to work in Alabama and in Dallas County following the coronavirus pandemic-related shutdown, according to the latest numbers from the Alabama Department of Labor.

From April to May Dallas County’s May preliminary unemployment rate improved 5.8 percent and Selma’s May preliminary unemployment rate improved 6.1 percent.

Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced Friday, June 19 that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted May unemployment rate is 9.9 percent down from April’s revised rate of 13.8 percent and above May 2019’s rate of 3 percent.

Dallas County’s May preliminary rate of 15 percent is down from April’s revised rate of 20.8 percent and above May 2019’s rate of 4.4 percent.

Selma’s May preliminary rate of 17.1 is down from April’s revised rate of 23.2 percent and above May 2019’s revised rate of 5.4 percent.

May’s Alabama rate represents 221,811 unemployed persons, compared to 302,535 in April and 68,057 in May 2019.

“This month’s decrease in the unemployment rate reflects that people are returning to work following the pandemic-related shutdown,” said Governor Kay Ivey. “While we are nowhere near pre-pandemic levels, a monthly decrease of nearly four percentage points is certainly a positive.”

She said, “Alabama, along with the rest of the nation, will be feeling the impacts brought on by this virus for months to come. My administration is committed to helping return Alabamians to their jobs safely, and to helping Alabama businesses to reopen and grow.”

Washington said, “While we are still far short of last year’s economic markers, we did show significant improvement over the last month.”

Washington said, “More than 80,000 fewer people were counted as unemployed last month, while the number of employed rose by more than 128,300.”

Alabama’s wage and salary employment increased in May by 42,500. Monthly gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector (+23,600), the education and health services sector (+9,600), and the other services sector (+5,400), among others. Over the year, wage and salary employment decreased 161,500, with losses in the leisure and hospitality sector (-64,600), the professional and business services sector (-27,700), and the education and health services sector (-16,700), among others.

Average weekly earnings increased to a record high in May, rising to $905.25 per week, representing an increase of $66.43 over the year.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Clay County at 5.6 percent, Geneva County at 6.3 percent and Shelby County at 6.5 percent. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox County at 19.3 percent, Lowndes County at 18.3 percent and Greene County at 16.4 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are Vestavia Hills at 5.2 percent, Homewood at 5.4 percent and Madison at 6.2 percent. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are Prichard at 18.6 percent, Selma at 17.1 percent, and Gadsden at 15.7 percent.