From the Tuscaloosa News, this Associated Press article tells us about the improvement that might be short lived.
The numbers were gathered in 2008 and reflect “the calm before the storm” of the recession hit the state, said Kimble Forrister, director of Alabama Arise. At the time, the state’s unemployment rate was better than the rest of the nation, Forrister said.
The census figures reported Wednesday by the Press-Register in Mobile show that the number of people below the poverty line fell by 47,000 to 712,835. That was the largest numerical drop of any state.
Alabama’s poverty rate fell 1.2 points to 15.7 percent. Alabama is tied with South Carolina with the 10th highest rate of poverty in the country. Nationwide, the poverty rate rose to 13.2 percent, an 11-year high.
“The effects of the recession did not occur until after this data was collected,” Forrister said. “At the time our unemployment rate was better than the rest of the nation.”
Alabama’s unemployment rate was below the national average for all of 2008 before soaring above the national average in January 2009 for the first time since May 2001.
“The news in 2008 shows that Alabama was doing the right things. We were creating jobs,” Forrister said. He said he expects Alabama’s poverty rate numbers to be back up for 2009.
Also, one-time stimulus payments to individuals disproportionately boosted incomes in poorer states in 2008, earlier statistics have shown.
Alabama was one of only three states that saw poverty rates fall significantly. Louisiana’s rate fell 1.3 percentage points to 17.3 percent, and Texas’s rate fell 0.5 percentage points to 15.8 percent. Both states were boosted by strong energy sectors last year.