By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Recently, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) announced that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted November unemployment rate is 6.0 percent.
Governor Bentley said, “We are coming closer and closer to hitting that golden wage and salary employment number of two million jobs. We are less than 25,000 jobs shy of attaining pre-recession employment levels in Alabama. We haven’t seen wage and salary employment at two million since June 2008, prior to the recession’s effects in our State. Our economy is strong, and my goal is that every Alabamian who wants a job can obtain one.”
Alabama Labor Department Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington said, “The very slight uptick in November’s unemployment rate is due to the fact that more people entered the workforce, perhaps looking for seasonal employment. Additionally, more people are employed both over the month and over the year, so this small increase is not necessarily bad news.”
Alabama’s Civilian Labor Force (CLF) increased in November to 2,146,294 from 2,141,221in October and from 2,130,131 in November 2014 (seasonally adjusted). CLF employment also increased to 2,018,189 from 2,014,056 in October and from 1,999,222 in November 2014.
The number of Alabamians with jobs increased in November by 12,800 to 1,975,700. Sectors reporting monthly gains include the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+9,100), the education and health services sector (+2,800), and the government sector (+1,800).
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased by 24,900 jobs. The largest gains were in the leisure and hospitality sector (+6,400), the education and health services sector (+5,900), the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+4,800), and the construction sector (+4,700).
Washington said, “The fact that the construction sector continues to show improvement over the year is another good sign for Alabama’s economy. Construction employment hasn’t been this healthy since 2010. If construction is occurring, then confidence in the economy is generally optimistic.”
Shelby County continues to lead the state with the lowest unemployment rate at just 4.0 percent. They are followed by Lee County at 4.7 percent and Elmore, Cullman, and St. Clair Counties at 4.8 percent. Wilcox (13.5 percent), Lowndes (10.6 percent), Clarke (10.5 percent), and Greene (10.1 percent) are the counties with the highest unemployment rates.
Nationally the unemployment rate is at 5.0 percent. The unemployment rate is the percentage of Americans who are actively working to find a job.
Unemployment rate in the US was recorded at 5 percent in November, the same as in the previous month and the lowest in more than seven years, while total nonfarm payroll employment increased by a higher-than-expected 211,000. Job gains occurred in construction, professional and technical services, and health care. Mining continued to lose jobs. The Unemployment Rate in the United States has averaged 5.83 percent from 1948 until 2015. The all time high during this period was 10.80 percent in November of 1982 and the low was 2.50 percent in May 1953. Unemployment Rate in the United States is reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a division of the US Department of Labor.
Governor Bentley promised when elected that he would not take a salary until the State reached full employment (most economists consider full employment to be about 5.5 percent). October’s 5.9 percent edged the State closer to full employment.