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Unemployment in Alabama drops to a new record low

Brandon Moseley

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The State of Alabama Labor Department announced Friday that the state has set a new record low of just 3.3 percent. Alabama’s over-the-year job growth is surpassing that of the national average.

Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced that Alabama set four new economic records in July. July’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 3.3 percent, breaking the record low set last month of just 3.5 percent.

The Trump/Ivey Alabama economy continues to boom. 2,171,721 Alabamians were employed last month, also setting a new all-time record high. 11,244 more Alabamians had jobs in July than in June, and 57,413 more were employed last month than in July 2018.

“More than 57,000 Alabamians have jobs today that didn’t a year ago,” said Governor Kay Ivey. “That means that 57,000 more Alabamians have work and are contributing to their communities and our state. The effort we are making to bring jobs and employers to Alabama is working. We are consistently improving our workforce and preparing Alabama for the future.”

“I’m proud to see our unemployment rate decrease and continue to reach record lows,” Washington said. “This month we also saw the number of people counted as unemployed fall to its lowest count ever. More people are joining the workforce, with the expectation that they will find work, and, for the most part, they are. But even as we celebrate these records, we know that there is still work to be done. We’re proving month after month that Alabama has good, quality jobs. We stand ready to assist anyone who’s ready to work.”

The number of people counted as unemployed dropped to a new record low of just 75,157, which is down 12,761 people from July 2018.

The state’s civilian labor force increased over the year by 44,652 to a new record high of 2,246,878. The civilian labor force represents the number of people, aged 16 and over, who are either working or looking for work, excluding the military and those in institutions.

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“Alabama is open for business,” economic developer Nicole Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter. “We have jobs and continue to shatter unemployment records because leadership in the public and private sector continues to collaborate and create an environment conducive for economic growth. Sixty-four of sixty-seven counties saw either a decline or no increase in their over-the-month unemployment rates.”

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“Our over-the-year job growth measured 2.0 perfect this month, which outpaced the nation’s job growth by half of a percentage point,” Washington said. “In fact, Alabama has matched or outpaced the national growth rate for six out of seven months in 2019. Alabama’s economy added over 40,000 more jobs in the last 12 months, with at least four sectors reaching record level employment highs.”

Alabama’s over-the-year job growth measured 2.0 percent, compared to the national growth rate of 1.5 percent. The state is outperforming the nation by 33 percent. The only month in 2019 in which Alabama did not match or outpace the national growth was January, when Alabama’s growth rate measured 1.8 percent, and the national rate was 2.0 percent.

The state’s over the year, wage and salary employment increased 40,200. The biggest gains were in the professional and business services sector, which gained over 8,700 new workers. That was followed by the leisure and hospitality sector (+7,700), and the education and health services sector (+5,000), among others.

The state’s transportation equipment manufacturing sector set a new record high level of employment in the state at 66,600 workers. The motor vehicle manufacturing (14,100), leisure and hospitality (219,200), and computer systems design (26,300) also set new all-time record highs.

“Secretary Fitzgerald Washington and the Alabama Department of Labor work diligently with companies and educational institutions to ensure Alabama has a quality and skilled workforce. ADOL, AIDT and companies looking to hire promote available job opportunities and facilitate training for future employees with skills needed to attain specific career paths,” Jones said.

All 67 counties saw declines in their over-the-year unemployment rates; with drops ranging from more than half of a percentage point to more than three percentage points. Sixty-four of 67 counties saw no increase or a decline in their over-the-month unemployment rates, as well.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at just 2.1 percent. That is followed by Marshall County at 2.4 percent, and Elmore and Baldwin Counties at 2.5 percent. The counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 7.5 percent, Greene County at 7.0 percent, and Perry County at 6.7 percent.

The major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 1.7 percent, Homewood and Alabaster at 2.0 percent, and Hoover at 2.1 percent. The major cities that had the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 7.3 percent, Prichard at 6.2 percent, and Anniston at 4.6 percent.

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