By Fred Guarino
The Selma Sun
While the impact of COVID-19 is not fully evident in its March report, according to the Alabama Department of Labor, both Dallas County and Selma reflected increases in unemployment in its preliminary March 2020 report.
In a report released Friday, April 17, Dallas County’s preliminary March 2020 rate of 5.8 percent reflected a .7 percent increase in unemployment, up from a February 2020 revised rate of 5.1 percent and equal to its revised March 2019 rate.
The city of Selma’s March 2020 rate of 6.8 percent reflected a .9 percent increase in unemployment, up from a revised February 2020 unemployment rate of 5.9 percent but still .2 percent below its March 2019 revised report of 7.0 percent.
Counties with the lowest March 2020 unemployment rates include Shelby County at 2.5 percent, Morgan, Marshall, and Madison Counties at 2.8 percent and Tuscaloosa, St. Clair, Limestone and Cullman Counties at 2.9 percent.
Counties with the highest March 2020 unemployment rates are Wilcox County at 9.6 percent, Clarke County at 6.7 percent and Greene County at 6.2 percent.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment March 2020 rates are Vestavia Hills at 2.0 percent, Homewood at 2.2 percent and Northport and Hoover at 2.3 percent.
Major cities with the highest March 20 unemployment rates are Selma at 6.8 percent, Prichard at 6.2 percent and Gadsden at 5.3 percent.
The Alabama Department of Labor reports that the reason the impact of COVID-19 is not fully evident in the March report is “due to the fact that the majority of closings and layoffs occurred during the week of March 16th.”
The Alabama Department of Labor reports the unemployment rate was measured during the week of March 12th.
“April’s unemployment rate, scheduled to be published on May 22, will more accurately reflect the impact of COVID-19 on Alabama’s economy,” the Alabama Department of Labor reports.
Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said Friday, April 17 that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted March unemployment rate is 3.5 percent, up from February’s record low level of 2.7 percent and above March 2019’s rate of 3.3 percent.
According to the Alabama Department of Labor, March’s rate represents 2,138,541 employed persons, down 24,216 over the year.
Wage and salary employment decreased in March by 1,600. Monthly losses were seen in the education and health services sector (-4,300), the professional and business services sector (-2,100), and the leisure and hospitality sector (-900), among others.
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased by 12,600, with gains in the government sector (+8,800), the manufacturing sector (+3,900), the education and health services sector (+2,400), and the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+2,300), among others.
Average weekly wages increased to $886.03 in March, down from $882.46 in February, but increased from $843.80 in March 2019.
The following sectors saw record high wages in March 2020: Trade, transportation, and utilities at $741.22 and other Services at $787.80.