Governor Robert Bentley on Friday announced that Alabama's preliminary April unemployment rate is 7.2%, down from March's revised rate of 7.4%. April's rate represents 154,307 unemployed persons, down from 157,494 last month and 203,520 in April 2011.
"Alabama hasn't seen an unemployment rate this low since the start of the recession," Governor Bentley said. "I think we are getting to a point where we are seeing many areas of the economy improving. For example, the automotive base in Alabama is increasingly strong. Just yesterday, we announced Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Alabama will be expanding its production facility in Huntsville. We have also seen many other exciting developments across the state that are leading to new jobs for Alabamians. We will continue our job creation efforts with the goal that anyone who wants a job is able to find one."
Wage and salary employment increased by 8,500 jobs over the month, with gains occurring in the leisure and hospitality industry, the professional and business services industry, and the trade, transportation, and utilities industry, among others.
The last time Alabama's unemployment rate was at or below 7.2% was in November of 2008.
"The Gulf Coast and other areas of our state are gearing up for what looks to be a record year for tourism, and that's adding jobs. Also, our automotive manufacturing and auto supplier industries are nearing full employment, which is contributing significantly to our decline in unemployment," said Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees.
Preliminary figures show that the number of employees in the Motor Vehicles Parts Manufacturing industry has increased by 13.1% over the past year. The number of employees in the Motor Vehicle Manufacturing industry has increased by 3.96%. Employment in the Leisure and Hospitality industry has increased by 3.03% over the last month, and 3.15% over the last year.
The counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 4.6%, Coffee County at 5.3%, Lee County at 5.6%, and Limestone County at 5.6%. The counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 15.1%, Lowndes County at 13.9%, and Dallas County at 12.2%.