Alabama jobless rate drops to 5.4 percent

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Alabama’s unemployment rate is down to 5.4 percent.

The state Labor Department says the April jobless rate announced Friday is down four-tenths of a percent from March. It’s also an improvement from the April 2016 rate of 5.8 percent.

Alabama followed a national trend with the improvement. But the state’s unemployment rate is still well above the U.S. unemployment rate of 4.4 percent, which is at a 10-year low.

The state number represents 119,256 jobless people in the state, but nearly 2.1 million are working.

“On top of the drop in the unemployment rate, we’ve also reached a huge milestone in wage and salary employment,” said Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington in a press release. “We’ve long said that reaching the two million jobs mark would be a true indicator of economic health. We’ve surpassed that number for the first time in almost nine years. Employers are hiring in Alabama, and it shows in these numbers.”

Shelby County in metro Birmingham has the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 3.3 percent. Wilcox County in rural west Alabama is worst at 11.7 percent.

In Mobile County, the jobless rate took a big drop from the previous month. The unemployment rate was 5.3-percent in April, which is down from 6.3-percent in March. Also good news for Baldwin County where the jobless rate fell to 3.9-percent, down from 4.8-percent in March.

The good news continues for coastal communities. The city of Mobile saw a significant decrease when the rate dropped to 5.5-percent from 6.5-percent.

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