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Truck drivers, nurses and retail salespersons the most sought-after employees

Brandon Moseley

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Tuesday, data collected and analyzed by the Alabama Department of Labor’s Labor Market Information (LMI) Division shows that the most online wanted ads were for retail salespersons, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, and registered nurses.

6,583 ads were placed for those occupations in February. Alabama online ads increased by 16 percent from January with 15,314 of those being new ads.
The Help Wanted Online (HWOL) data is compiled from all online job postings in the state, including those posted on the state’s free online jobs database, www.joblink.alabama.gov, and other sources; such as traditional

job boards, corporate boards, and social media sites.
Retail salespersons earn a mean wage of $13.55 per hour, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers earn a mean wage of $19.99 per hour, and registered nurses earn a mean wage of $28.43 per hour.

Thirty-eight percent of job ads have salaries in the $50-79,000 range; 24% have salaries of $80,000 and above; 22% have salaries in the $30-49,000 range; and 16% have salaries of $30,00 or under.

“It’s encouraging to see 84% of the online job ads have wage ranges above $30,000 and more than half pay $50,000 or higher,” said Fitzgerald Washington, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Labor. “These are good paying jobs that will benefit Alabamians.”

The top three employers posting ads in February were: UAB Medicine (796), CVS Health (650), and McDonald’s (644). These were followed by Pizza Hut, Lowe’s, Baptist Health, Advance Auto Parts, Circle K, Jacob’s, and Domino’s to round out the top 10 employers with the most online ads.

Economic developer Nicole Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter, “Certain professions require a human element that cannot be completely replaced with technology; nursing, especially, comes to mind. Nurses are in high-demand both statewide and nationally. Community colleges and universities throughout Alabama have enhanced their programs to try to fill the labor shortage.”

Most of the ads were for retail salespersons.

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Nicole Jones said, “Recently the Alabama Retail Association explained to us the significance of the economic impact of small retailers – especially in small towns that rely on their sales tax base. Retailers employ 1 in 4 of all private sector employees in Alabama, which equates to almost 400,000 Alabama residents.”

Truck driver is the second most in demand job.

Nicole Jones said, “It is no surprise that truckers are on this list. Distribution and Logistics is one of the state of Alabama’s targeted business sectors. Alabama remains a hub for distribution and transportation logistics both nationally and globally.”

The healthcare sector has enormous demand for people.
The Healthcare Industry is the focus of this month’s in-depth analysis by the LMI division. The top 5 occupations with the most online ads are registered nurses, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses, nursing assistants, physical therapists, and personal care aides. 25 percent of those jobs only require a GED/High School diploma.

“We continue to see the importance of soft skills to employers,” continued Washington. “This is where our Career Centers come in. Alabama now has 50 Career Centers around the state that offer free services to jobseekers including job skill workshops, job searches, résumé preparation, and more.”

“We’d like to encourage anyone who needs a job, or wants a different job, to come into one of our Career Centers for assistance,” said Washington. “Our trained staff can assist you in obtaining the career you want.”

A listing of Career Centers can be found here.

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Economy

Freelancers, gig workers can begin filing unemployment claims

Chip Brownlee

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Stock Photo

Employees like freelancers and the self-employed can now file for an unemployment claim in Alabama, the Alabama Department of Labor said Tuesday, under the CARES Act, the coronavirus response bill passed by Congress and signed by the president last week.

The Alabama Department of Labor is encouraging employees who believe they may qualify for programs under the CARES Act to file a claim.

These employees will also need to certify weekly to continue to let the department know that they remain unemployed.

Although ADOL does not yet have technical guidance or a start date regarding the CARES Act programs, benefits may be paid retroactively from the time the employee separated from his or her job or otherwise became eligible under the federal CARES Act, not from the time the application was submitted or approved.

In Alabama, many freelancers, independent contractors and the self-employed are not typically able to file for unemployment insurance.

Last week, more than 70,000 people filed an initial jobless claim. Claims can be filed online at www.labor.alabama.gov or by calling 1-866-234-5382.

The Department of Labor is asking for patience when trying to file a claim.

ADOL says employees who may be affected include:

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  • The self-employed
  • Church employees
  • Non-profit and governmental employees
  • Independent contractors
  • Gig economy workers
  • Those who have exhausted their regular UI benefits.

These employees should also meet one of these conditions:

  • The individual has been diagnosed; or
  • A member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed; or
  • The individual is providing care to a household or family member; or
  • A child or other person for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility as a result of COVID-19; or
  • The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency; or
  • The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because the individual has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine; or
  • The individual was scheduled to start work and does not have a job as a result of COVID-19; or
  • The individual has become “the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19”; or
  • The individual has to quit their job because of COVID-19; or
  • The individual’s place of employment is closed because of COVID-19.

This list is not exhaustive.

Further details regarding the CARES Act programs will be forthcoming, the department says, including information regarding Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which provides for an additional $600 a week in unemployment compensation benefits.

The additional $600 weekly benefit will only be available for weeks beginning March 29, 2020

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Health

Two hospital employees in Huntsville test positive for COVID-19

Chip Brownlee

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Stock Photo/Huntsville, Alabama

A physician and another employee at Crestwood Medical Center in Huntsville, Alabama, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the hospital said Tuesday.

“Crestwood Medical Center learned that 2 of our associates (one physician and one employee) have tested positive for COVID-19,” spokesperson Lori Light said in a statement Tuesday.

One is in the hospital for care while the other is at home under quarantine.

The hospital has also had two patients test positive in the Emergency Department, but neither of the patients needed inpatient care, the spokesperson said.

“Working in coordination with the health department, we are following established CDC procedures to identify and communicate directly with any potentially exposed staff and patients,” the Crestwood Medical Center spokesperson said.

Overall, there are at least 13 COVID-19 patients in Madison County, the hospital’s CEO Dr. Pam Hudson said Tuesday during a briefing.

There are 11 inpatients at Huntsville Hospital’s facilities, according to Huntsville Hospital spokesperson Susan Esslinger.

In Alabama, the number of positive cases is nearing 1,000. At least 23 deaths related to COVID-19 have been reported. The Alabama Department of Public Health has officially confirmed 13.

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Crime

Alabama inmate killed by another inmate at Ventress Correctional

Eddie Burkhalter

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via the Alabama Department of Corrections

A Birmingham man serving at Ventress Correctional Facility in Clayton was killed by another inmate, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections. 

Dennis Benson, 40, who was serving a 36-month sentence for possession of a controlled substance and receiving stolen property, died March 30 after being attacked by another inmate, ADOC said in a statement. 

“The ADOC condemns all violence in its facilities, and the fatal actions taken against Benson by another inmate are being thoroughly investigated,” the department said in a statement.

Benson’s cause of death is pending a full autopsy, and more information will be available upon the conclusion of the investigation into his death, according to the department. 

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Health

Wisconsin students test positive after spring break on Alabama beaches

Eddie Burkhalter

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A number of college students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have tested positive for COVID-19 after spending time on Alabama’s beaches during spring break, according to the university and multiple news outlets.  

University Health Services (UHS) and Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) recently became aware of a cluster of COVID-19 cases associated with a spring break trip organized by seniors, many of whom might be members of fraternities and sororities at UW-Madison,” wrote Dr. G. Patrick Kelly, interim medical director at UW-Madison’s University Health Services in a letter to sorority and fraternity members as reported by WKRG.  

“This trip started in Nashville, Tennessee around March 13 and moved to Gulf Shores, Alabama around March 16. Most students returned home by March 20. Multiple students on this trip have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 and many others are reporting similar symptoms,” the letter continues. 

Gov. Kay Ivey closed the state’s beaches on March 19. Prior to that decision, images circulated on social media of college students gathering along the state’s shorelines. 

UW-Madison has asked students who returned from Alabama to self-quarantine for 14 days.

 

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