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Alabama jobless rate at 3.3% in June, better than US average

July 16, 2021 GMT

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s jobless rate declined to 3.3% in June, well below the national average, as state leaders emphasized keeping the economy going amid concerns about a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Kay Ivey’s office said Friday the state unemployment rate was down slightly from 3.4% in May and much better than the rate of 7.7% from a year earlier, when many businesses were closed or operating at reduced capacity to limit the spread of COVID-19.

With the comparable national unemployment rate at 5.9% for June, Alabama is among the states that have been aggressive in keeping businesses open despite low vaccination rates, relatively little adherence to health guidelines in public and increasing hospitalizations caused by a boost in COVID-19 cases.

“As our unemployment rate continues to drop and employers continue to fill jobs, we’re proud to celebrate the fact that Alabama is open for business,” Ivey said in a statement.

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About 2.1 million people were employed in the state last month, an increase of 89,705 in a year. Employment grew by 13,400 positions in June, with the largest gains in the leisure and hospital industry, which added 8,100 jobs. The boost came as extended federal jobless benefits ended.

Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said the jobs count was the highest year of 2021. “Employers are eagerly looking for employees and are actively hiring,” he said.

Shelby County in metro Birmingham had Alabama’s lowest unemployment rate at 2.4%, followed by Blount County at 2.5%. Rural Wilcox County in west Alabama was highest at 10.4%, with Lowndes County at 9.8%.