Unemployment dropped in June as employers struggle to fill jobs

·1 min read

Jul. 16—Alabama's unemployment rate dropped to 3.3 percent in June, Gov. Kay Ivey announced Friday morning — a number that underscores both the post-pandemic economic recovery and the labor crunch facing the state's employers.

"The drastic changes we've seen since last year are truly remarkable and are a testament to the dedication and work ethic of Alabamians," Ivey was quoted as saying in a Friday morning press release.

Unemployment in June 2020, with the economy still suppressed by COVID-19, was 7.7 percent. By May of this year, the unemployment rate had plummeted to 3.4 percent, a low number even for good economic times. The June numbers show an additional slight month-to-month drop.

Signs of the tight labor market are everywhere. At budget hearings this week, Anniston City Council members considered a 2.5 percent raise for city employees and additional bonuses for the police department, where 16 positions remain unfilled. At a hearing of the Calhoun County 911 Board Thursday, board members warned of difficulty in hiring enough paramedics.

Within Anniston city limits, June unemployment was 6.1 percent — not a bad number in most years, but the third-highest unemployment rate among the cities in which the state calculates jobless numbers.

The unemployment data also shows that the rising employment tide hasn't lifted all boats. In Wilcox County, in the Black Belt, June unemployment was 10.4 percent, according to the Friday morning numbers.

Capitol & statewide reporter Tim Lockette: 256-294-4193. On Twitter @TLockette_Star.

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