By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Friday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced that 2,093,063 people were counted as employed in December, the most ever recorded. This number is up from November’s count of 2,087,509, and up substantially from December 2016’s count of 2,047,753.
Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted December unemployment rate is 3.5 percent, maintaining last month’s record rate, and significantly below December 2016’s rate of 6.3 percent. December’s rate represents 75,698 unemployed persons, down from 75,775 in November and 137,875 in December 2016.
“We are ending 2017 with great news on the employment front,” Ivey said. “Not only have we reached a record low unemployment rate, but now we can add another record to our list – more people are working in Alabama than ever before! We’ve been busy recruiting new business to our state, like our recent announcement of Toyota-Mazda’s decision to locate in North Alabama, bringing 4,000 jobs and more than 300 jobs in Troy due to Kimber’s recent announcement.”
“In early 2017, economists predicted that Alabama’s economy would gain 18,700 jobs over the year,” Fitzgerald Washington, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Labor, said. “I’m happy to say that we surpassed that prediction by more than 13,000 jobs, gaining a total of 32,500 jobs. Employers are hiring in Alabama, and we stand ready to provide whatever assistance is needed to make sure that they are able to fill their open positions.”
Over the year, wage and salary employment have increased by 32,50. The largest gains were in the leisure and hospitality sector (+8,700), the construction sector (+6,100), and the manufacturing sector (+5,800), among others.
Washington said, “Over the year, all 67 showed significant decreases in their unemployment rates,” continued Washington. “Wilcox County is leading with a 6.2 percentage point drop from the same time last year.”
The counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 2.5 percent, Cullman County at 2.8 percent, and Marshall, Madison and Lee Counties at 2.9 percent. The counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 9.5 percent, Clarke County at 6.7 percent and Lowndes County at 6.5 percent.
The major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 2.1 percent, Homewood at 2.3 percent and Alabaster and Hoover at 2.4 percent. The major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 6.3 percent, Prichard at 6.2 percent and Anniston at 5.0 percent.
On Thursday, President Donald Trump said, “We have created nearly 2.2 million jobs since the election. The unemployment rate is at, now, an 18-year low. I would say 17 years, and now it just lifted to 18 years. The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits just hit a 45-year low. Something I’m really proud of, because I’ve been saying it — what do you have to lose? African American unemployment is at its lowest level ever recorded. Female unemployment is at the lowest level in 17 years. Hispanic American unemployment has hit its all-time lows — lowest ever.”