By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
2014 has been a sluggish year for the Alabama economy, but it appears things are getting on track in September. On Friday, October 17 the Governor’s office announced that the adjusted unemployment rate has dropped to just 6.6 percent.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) said, “The number of jobs employers reported in Alabama in September is the highest we have seen since December 2008, and that is thanks to the strong economic development efforts we have put in place to create jobs. Our economy is supporting more jobs today than it has in the past five years, and our efforts will continue until every Alabamian who wants a job has the opportunity to have one. September’s unemployment rate is the lowest rate we’ve seen in seven months, and we are confident that this trend will continue.”
The Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives Mike Hubbard (R from Auburn) said on Facebook, “Great news for Alabama today. The latest job report is further indication that the conservative policies we’ve implemented over the last four years are working. The unemployment rate is heading down as Alabama gained 30,000 new jobs last month. Our policies are working, and more importantly, more Alabamians are too.
The Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party Bill Armistead said in a statement, “Today’s job report is fantastic news for the state of Alabama! Even in the counties often plagued by unemployment, rates have dropped more than two percentage points. This is truly a testament to Governor Bentley and the Republican-led legislature. Over the past four years, they have committed themselves to improving Alabama’s economic climate and bringing jobs to citizens.”
Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington said, “Every county in Alabama experienced a decrease in their unemployment rate this month. Five counties with traditionally high unemployment rates saw their rates drop more than two percentage points.”
Monroe saw their unemployment rate dip by a full two percent. Dallas County dropped 2.2 percent, Sumter 2.3 percent, Wilcox 2.3 percent and Perry County saw a shocking drop of 2.8 percent.
The counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 4.3 percent, Lee and Cherokee Counties at 4.7 percent, and Blount County at 4.8 percent. Economists generally consider anything below 5 percent as full employment.
Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted September unemployment rate is 6.6%, down from the rate in August of 6.9%. September’s rate represents 140,674 unemployed persons, compared to 147,248 in August.
The biggest increase was seen in the government sector which gained a shocking 7,600 jobs. This was followed by the education and health services sector which posted over 2,800 new jobs. There were over 1800 new professional and business services sector jobs among others.
2014 to date has seen wage and salary employment increase by 31,600 jobs. Over the course of the years the largest gains have been in the leisure and hospitality sector which has picked up over 9,000 new jobs followed by the manufacturing and professional and business services sector which have each gained over 7,900 jobs.
There are 23,829 registered openings on JobLink, the state’s free online jobs database (www.joblink.alabama.gov). The most advertised jobs are for: truck drivers, retail supervisors, and registered nurses.
Chairman Armistead said, “The governor and the legislature worked together to create pro-business solutions to Alabama’s unemployment problems. Without their teamwork, it would not have been possible for unemployment to drop. We are grateful for their efforts and look forward to continued growth as businesses continue to build and expand in our great State.”