Due to pandemic and disaster, Alabama’s and Dallas County’s April Unemployment Rate is up

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May 16 Initial unemployment claims for state and Dallas County reported.
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By Fred Guarino
The Selma Sun

April’s unemployment rate increased in Alabama and Dallas County, according to the Alabama Department of Labor’s latest numbers.

The state’s preliminary seasonally adjusted rate rose to 12.9 percent, up from March’s revised rate of 3.0 percent and above April 2019’s rate of 3.2 percent. Dallas County’s preliminary April rate rose to 20.9 percent, up from March’s revised rate of 5.2 percent and above April 2019’s revised rate of 4.6 percent.

Highest counties in Alabama were Lowndes at 26.0 percent, Wilcox at 22.8 percent and Greene 22.2 percent. Tied with Dallas County at 20.9 percent were Perry and Hale counties.

Selma’s Preliminary April rate was 23.4 percent, up from March’s revised rate of 6.1 percent and above April 2019’s rate of 5.7 percent.

The state’s April’s rate represents 283,787 unemployed persons, representing an increase of 216,783 over the month. Those counted as employed decreased to 1,911,512 in April, down from March’s count of 2,151,586.

“While we are certainly disappointed to see our unemployment rate rise so sharply this month, it’s not surprising,” said Governor Kay Ivey.

“This global pandemic and national disaster have certainly impacted Alabamians’ ability to work. We know that hundreds of thousands of people have filed for unemployment benefits over the past two months, and we’ve been able to process and pay a great majority of those,” she said. “We realize there are some still waiting on relief, and we hear and understand their frustration. Please rest assured that my administration is working tirelessly to provide relief to those Alabamians and their families, and I have the utmost confidence in the Alabama Department of Labor and the dedicated state employees there who are working tirelessly to serve their fellow citizens.”

Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said, “I think everyone will agree that these numbers aren’t numbers we ever wanted to report.”

Washington said, “This pandemic has negatively impacted Alabama’s economy and in two months’ time has managed to undo years of positive progress. But the impact to our employers and workers who carry the economy is even greater. So many had life altering changes that impacted their families almost overnight. I want all Alabamians to know that we are working nonstop to help move this recovery along. We are developing new technologies, adding staff, and making modifications wherever possible to help our workers through this enormously difficult time.”

Wage and salary employment decreased in April by 201,700. Monthly losses were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector (-79,500), the professional and business services sector (-29,500), the education and health services sector (-26,400), and the manufacturing sector (-24,200), among others.

Over the year, wage and salary employment decreased by 199,200, with losses in the leisure and hospitality sector (-87,900), the professional and business services sector (-30,800), the education and health services sector (-25,300), and the manufacturing sector (-19,100), among others.

Average weekly wages increased to $908.52 in April, up from $883.17 in March.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Geneva County at 8.1 percent, Bullock, and Pike Counties at 9.1 percent, and Shelby and Henry Counties at 9.2 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are Homewood at 7.1 percent, Vestavia Hills at 7.2 percent, and Madison at 8.3 percent.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are Selma at 23.4 percent, Anniston at 22.1 percent and Gadsden at 22.0 percent.