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Alabama unemployment drops to 5.8 percent; only 10,000 workers away from 2 million

Special to The Tribune

MONTGOMERY – Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted March unemployment rate is 5.8 percent, down from February’s rate of 6.2 percent, and below March 2016’s rate of 5.9 percent.

March’s rate represents 128,757 unemployed persons, compared to 136,667 in February and 128,478 in March 2016. March’s rate represents 2,080,139 employed persons, compared to 2,067,352 in February and 2,037,370 in March 2016.

“I am encouraged to hear that nearly 13,000 more Alabamians have a job today than did in February. As we work to improve Alabama’s image, these figures are welcomed news, but they are just a start. I am honored that the first employment numbers announced during my administration are on the right side of the ledger,” Governor Kay Ivey said.

Washington said the numbers are not inflated because workers gave up.

“The month’s drop in the unemployment rate came about because more people entered the labor force looking for work, and most of them found it,” he said. “Thirteen thousand more people are working today in Alabama than last month and nearly 43,000 more are working now than in March of last year.

“We are also very close to reaching an employment milestone: a wage and salary employment figure of two million. We’re only 10,000 jobs away from reaching this goal, which hasn’t been met since June 2008 and has, in fact, only been achieved 13 times over the past ten years.”

Wage and salary employment increased in March by 8,500 to 1,990,000 persons. Monthly gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector, the professional and business services sector, and the trade, transportation, and utilities sector, among others. Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 28,500, with gains in the education and health services sector, the manufacturing sector, and the professional and business services sector, among others.

“Every county experienced a drop in their unemployment rate over the month, and 66 of our 67 counties saw their rates stay the same or decrease over the year,” Washington said. “All of the metropolitan statistical areas also saw their rates drop this month.”

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