How Cullman County maintains one of the lowest unemployment rates in Alabama
Cullman County, Ala. —
Friday Governor Kay Ivey announced new unemployment rates for the state of Alabama. The 3.8% unemployment rate is the lowest it's been in 10 years. Shelby County has the lowest unemployment rate at 2.4% and not far behind is Cullman County at 2.8%. We visited Cullman County to find out what they're doing to keep people employed.
Several new big box retailers opened in the city of Cullman just a couple years ago. Cullman County Commission Chair Kenneth Walker says several more businesses then followed suit, bringing money and jobs to the county. "We got some good people with the city and the county that recruits these industries and restaurants to come in."
Walmart also recently opened a new Supercenter in North Cullman. But it's not just retail, there are also industrial and technology jobs coming to the county. Walker says they will offer tax abatements to big companies. "We have to give a little to help them out but they help us out by putting the people to work and tax money also."
Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce President Leah Bolin says the unemployment rate is a combination of things. "We are the number one in the state for new and expanding industry that definitely adds to that low unemployment rate. I think we are also top notch in our quality of life... we have one of the top chambers in the state, we've diversified we have big box retail but worked to keep our downtown vitalized with stores that are open." She also says having Wallace State Community College helps ensure a workforce that is ready for new jobs that come to the county. "I think the secret for us is to not be content with one area of success but to really diversify those successes."
Bolin and Walker say the county's location is also a big help. "We just happen to be in a great location in north Alabama, we're about an hour 15-20 minutes from over half the population of the whole state of Alabama."