A look at 10 years of unemployment in Shelby County, Alabama

An announcer on the radio several days ago stated that interest rate are at their lowest level ever, going back to when they began keeping records.  This is very good news for home buyers but it makes me wonder if it will have a significant impact on home sales.  Interest rates have been low for quite a while, yet homes sales have still been in a slump and  remain at lower than normal levels.

What will it take for home sales to increase?  I am not an economic expert but I do know that there are three things that help contribute to a healthy housing market.  These are: home prices, interest rates and the unemployment rate.  I have wrote extensively on home value trends in the Birmingham, AL area.  Property values have been depressed due to the influence of foreclosure sales, which is good for buyers.  This has made homes affordable to more people.  As I mentioned at the beginning, interest rates are now at an all time low, allowing buyers to purchase more home for lower payment.  So with that being said, what else is left?  Unemployment is the the last of the three factors that need to be in good shape before the real estate market begins to really take off.

There are good signs for the unemployment rate in Shelby County, AL.  If you take a look at the graph of the unemployment rate over the past 10 years you will see that we are at least headed in the right direction, and that is down.

Shelby County AL unemployment

The highest level was around January 2010 when the unemployment rate was approximately 8.0, and as of March of 2012 we were at 5.1%, which is about where we were at in January of 2009.  While we are not at the low levels we had in 2007, the current trend is encouraging.  What do you think about the downward trend? Do you agree that a low unemployment rate is the last piece of the puzzle for a healthy market?  Please leave me a message below and tell me your thoughts.

If you have any real estate appraisal related questions you can call me at 205.243.9304, email me, or connect with me on Facebook., Twitter, or Youtube.


  1. I love the graph. You guys should rejoice too since our rate in Sacramento County is 11.2% right now (and that’s down from a high in 2010). I hope good things for Alabama!!

    • Thanks Ryan, I liked yours so much I decided to take a look at our local unemployment rate and chart it. I did notice the unemployment rate in your area was quite a bit higher than ours. It goes to show you that when you think you’ve got it bad, there is always someone else that may have it worse. I too hope that your area can recover from the high levels of unemployment.

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