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Economic Figures Expected to be Worse

Special to Elmore Autauga News 

The March 2020 information was not necessarily bad. That probably will not be the case with April.

Alabama was 18th in the nation in unemployment for the month of March with a rate of 3.5%, up from the 2.7% rate in February. The rate for the entire nation in March was 4.4%.

The best statistics in unemployment history have been collected since 1948. Three years after World War II the nation had an unemployment rate that bumped 8%. Since that time, the nation has recorded an unemployment rate of 10% or more:

A. From September 1982 through June 1983.

B. In the recession of 2007-2009 the rate reached 10% in 2008.

C. The rate is expected to be near 15% in April 2020.

The coronavirus is to blame for what surely will be dismal numbers to come. The United States had an unemployment rate of 9.9% in April 2010 and that rate has dropped steadily until the rate hit 3.5% in February of this year.

During the last 10 years Alabama’s rate has been in the 2.7%-4.9% range.

The statistics for the Great Depression from 1929-1939 provided the worst unemployment in the nation’s history. The highest rate ever recorded was in 1932-1933 when the rate at 24.9%. What is interesting is that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell nearly 27% in the Great Depression. Today, some estimates are the GDP has already dropped over 30%, and that is while the unemployment estimate for April is expected to be 15%.    

The March statistics probably do not tell the entire story on unemployment as it relates to the coronavirus. The majority of information used to compile the March statistics was gathered before the week of March 16 – the time most of the shutdown began. As a result, the figures for April should paint a very dim portrait of the unemployment situation.

ON THE LOCAL FRONT: The March unemployment rates in the River Region were: Autauga 3.1%; Elmore 3.0%; Montgomery 3.5% (the state average). The worst rate in Alabama is Wilcox County at 9.6% and the best rate is Shelby County at 2.5%.

Information on April statistics should be available between May 22 and May 26.