Alabama’s unemployment rate hit 12.9% in April, the Department of Labor announced Friday.
April’s rate is the first full monthly measure that incorporates the true extent of the job losses occurring due to the coronavirus pandemic. March’s unemployment rate was 3.0%.
Late last week the department also announced that more than 500,000 initial unemployment claims had been filed from March 8 to May 16. This week, the state also announced it has disbursed more than $1 billion in COVID-19 related unemployment compensation benefits.
“I think everyone will agree that these numbers aren’t numbers we ever wanted to report,” Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said in a news release. “This pandemic has negatively impacted Alabama’s economy and in two months’ time has managed to undo years of positive progress. But, the impact to our employers and workers who carry the economy is even greater. So many had life altering changes that impacted their families almost overnight. I want all Alabamians to know that we are working nonstop to help move this recovery along. We are developing new technologies, adding staff, and making modifications wherever possible to help our workers through this enormously difficult time.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Geneva County at 8.1%; Bullock, and Pike at 9.1%; and Shelby and Henry at 9.2%. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are Lowndes County at 26.0%; Wilcox at 22.8%; and Greene at 22.2%.
Around the area, Jefferson County had a 12.6% unemployment rate, Shelby County had 9.2%, Walker County had 12.9, Tuscaloosa County had 16.8, Fayette County had 11.1%, Pickens County had 14.3%, Bibb County had 17.7%, Hale County had 20.9%, PerryCounty had 20.9%, Greene County had 22.2% and Sumter County had 12.5%.
Elsewhere, Calhoun County’s unemployment rate was at 18.4%, Etowah County was at 18.8%, Talladega County was at 19.9%, St. Clair County was at 13.2%, Cleburne County was at 12.5%, Randolph County was at 12.3% and Clay County was at 9.3%.
In the Tennessee Valley area, Morgan County’s unemployment rate was at 11.3%, Limestone County was at 11.4%, Madison County was at 10.4%, Franklin County was at 11.3%, Marshall County was at 11%, Jackson County was at 13.3%, DeKalb County was at 11.7%, Lauderdale County was at 14.6% and Colbert County was at 16.5%.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are Homewood at 7.1%, Vestavia Hills at 7.2%, and Madison at 8.3%. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are Selma at 23.4%, Anniston at 22.1%, and Gadsden at 22.0%.