After four straight months of increases, Alabama’s unemployment rate dropped in September. The rate fell from 8.5% to 8.3%. A year ago, the rate stood at 8.8%. Based on these numbers, there are about 178,000 people looking for work in Alabama. Though the drop is good news, Alabama is still above the national unemployment rate, which is 7.8%.
Alabama’s unemployment rate had dipped to 7.2% this past April. The numbers followed strong job growth across the country in the first quarter. The spring and summer saw the economy stall, and Alabama was clearly affected. The unemployment rate rose an entire percentage point over the following four months. September finally saw that trend come to an end.
There are positive signs to look forward to in regards to Alabama’s economic future. An amendment was passed a few weeks ago allowing the state the borrow money from an emergency trust fund to fill a budget gap. The money will allow the state the forego any further budget cuts, which could have led to some state workers losing their job. Locally, Mobile passed a penny sales tax increase that will fill a city budget gap, which will prevent a cut in city workers. If either of these measures failed, many government jobs could have been lost and the unemployment rate would have likely gone up.
In the private sector, Airbus just announced it would be doubling its spending in the US by 2020. The move comes as the European plane maker prepares to build its first plant in the US at Brookley Field. Other companies are already eyeing the area as a site for new plants to supply the new plane making facility. The economic impact on Alabama could be enormous.