The economic recovery continues for Marshall County following the spring COVID-19 shutdown.
The Alabama Department of Labor announced Friday that Marshall County’s unemployment rate had dropped to 5.4% for the month of June. This is down from 6.3% for May and 11% for April, the height of the shutdown.
Marshall County is tied with Shelby County for the lowest unemployment rate in the state.
A year ago this month, Marshall County’s unemployment rate was 2.6%.
Still, no one is more tickled with the numbers than Marshall County Economic Development Council president Matt Arnold. He joked that he should have gone to Vegas or bought 10 lottery tickets a couple of months ago, because he has been spot on with his predictions of what unemployment would do in the aftermath of the shutdown.
“My board has been asking me what the numbers would do,” he said. “In May, I told them I thought it would be between 6 and 7% and it came in at 6.7, then was revised for 6.3. They asked me three days before the new numbers came out what my prediction was, and I said it would be between 5 and 6%.”
He said people are going back to work, but there are still some people who can’t return for various reasons.
He said the extra federal unemployment funding is hurting companies’ ability to fill job slots. Part of the pandemic relief measure added an extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits. Some people are earning more money on unemployment than they earn working as a result, although that benefit ends later this month.
Of importance to Arnold was that Marshall was tied with Shelby County for the best unemployment rate in the state.
“Us, Shelby and Cullman were all at 5.4%,” he said. “I’ve never seen that before. We are often tied with Cullman for second, but Shelby is usually a half-point better than we are. It has been like that for 20 years.”
The wide diversity of industry in Marshall County is a help in employment numbers.
“Some industries have seen their supply chains interrupted and they are still having some supply problems,” Arnold said. “But some say they are as busy as they have ever been.”