Chilton County unemployment rose to 12.2% in April

Published 11:22 am Friday, May 22, 2020

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By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

Chilton County saw a spike in unemployment in April as some businesses had to offer limited services due to pandemic social distancing requirements.

The April unemployment rate for the county was 12.2%, which is a drastic increase from the 2.7% seen in March.

The state average also saw a sharp increase from 3% in March to a seasonally adjusted rate of 12.9% in April.

“While we are certainly disappointed to see our unemployment rate rise so sharply this month, it’s not surprising,” said Gov. Kay Ivey said in a press release. “This global pandemic and national disaster has certainly impacted Alabamians’ ability to work. We know that hundreds of thousands of people have filed for unemployment benefits over the past two months, and we’ve been able to process and pay a great majority of those. We realize there are some still waiting on relief, and we hear and understand their frustration. Please rest assured that my administration is working tirelessly to provide relief to those Alabamians and their families, and I have the utmost confidence in the Alabama Department of Labor and the dedicated state employees there who are working tirelessly to serve their fellow citizens.”

Many of the initial restrictions put in place in Alabama have been amended to allow restaurants, retail stores and entertainment venues to reopen, while following social distancing guidelines.
“I think everyone will agree that these numbers aren’t numbers we ever wanted to report,” said Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington in a press 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.”

While unemployment increased, the average weekly income for those who were working actually increased.

“Average weekly wages increased to $908.52 in April, up from $883.17 in March,” according to the release.

However, “Wage and salary employment decreased in April by 201,700. Monthly losses were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector (-79,500), the professional and business services sector (-29,500), the education and health services sector (-26,400), and the manufacturing sector (-24,200), among others.”