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Economy

Retail salespersons, registered nurses are the most sought-after employees

Brandon Moseley

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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, registered nurses, and customer service representatives. 6,662 ads were placed for those occupations in October alone with total ads up 15.8 percent over this time year.

The 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 $13.52 per hour, while registered nurses earn a mean wage of $29.43 per hour. Customer service representatives earn a mean wage of $16.79 per hour.

“We continue to see the importance of soft skills to employers,” said Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald 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.”

Economic developer Dr. Nicole Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter, “Certain professions require a human element that cannot be completely replaced with technology. Nursing certainly fits into this category. 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.”

Thirty-four percent of job ads have salaries in the $50-79,000 range; 23 percent have salaries of $80,000 and above; 23 percent have salaries in the $30-49,000 range; and 20 percent have salaries of $30,000 or under.

The top three employers posting ads in October were: UAB Medicine (893), McDonald’s (827), and Walmart (816). These were followed by Lowe’s, Family Dollar, Pizza Hut, CVS, Advance Auto Parts, Inc., Dollar Tree Stores, and the University of Alabama to round out the top 10 employers with the most online ads.

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“Earlier this year 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,” Dr. Nicole Jones said. “Retailers employ 1 in 4 of all private sector employees in Alabama, which equates to almost 400,000 Alabama residents. Retail follows jobs, and many companies within the private sector have created thousands of jobs in Alabama recently. Retail sales fluctuate with the economy. Consumers spend when they have more disposable income, and fortunately in the current economy, many Alabamians have a little extra cash left over.”

The real estate and rental and leasing sector is the focus of this month’s in-depth analysis by the LMI division. The top five occupations with the most online ads are: customer service representatives, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, maintenance and repair workers, light truck or delivery service drivers, and bus and truck mechanics, diesel engine specialists. Thirty-two percent of these jobs require a minimum of an associate’s degree.

“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.”

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Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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Economy

New unemployment claims continued dropping last week

Micah Danney

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(STOCK PHOTO)

There were 8,679 new unemployment claims filed in Alabama last week, slightly fewer than the 8,848 filed the previous week, according to the Alabama Department of Labor.

Of the claims filed between Sept. 13 and Sept. 19, 4,465, or 51 percent, were related to COVID-19. That’s the same percentage as the previous week.

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Economy

Unemployment benefits could change for some Alabamians

ADOL will begin the review when the current quarter ends on Oct. 3. 

Eddie Burkhalter

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Some Alabamians receiving unemployment benefits could see changes in those benefits after the Alabama Department of Labor conducts a required quarterly review and redetermines eligibility, the department said Friday. 

The Alabama Department of Labor said in a press release Friday that no action is required by those receiving regular unemployment, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. 

ADOL will begin the review when the current quarter ends on Oct. 3. 

“Some may remain eligible for PUA or PEUC, OR they may be required to change to regular unemployment compensation. Weekly benefit amounts may also change. This depends on eligibility requirements,” ADOL said in the release. “Those claimants whose benefit year ends prior to October 3, 2020, will have their claims reevaluated.” 

After the review, if the claimant is determined not to be eligible for regular unemployment compensation, those who qualify may still be able to be paid under PUA or PEUC, and that determination will be made automatically and payment will be issued, the department said in the release. 

Claimants must also continue to certify their weeks.

Many claimants are not receiving benefits because they fail to file their weekly certifications, i.e. requests for payment. ADOL cannot pay benefits for weeks that have not been properly certified. Certifications can be done online at labor.alabama.gov or by calling the appropriate number:

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  • Montgomery – (334) 954-4094
  • Birmingham – (205) 458-2282
  • Not in Local Area – (800) 752-7389

PUA recipients must file their weekly certifications either by telephone or on the PUA app, at pua.labor.alabama.gov.

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Economy

Alabama Gulf Coast beaches remain closed for now

Brandon Moseley

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Gov. Kay Ivey took a tour of the damage from Hurricane Sally on the gulf coast Friday September 18, 2020. (Governor's Office/Hal Yeager)

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced that beaches will remain closed for now due to ongoing repair and cleanup efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sally.

“Working closely with Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft and Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon, as well as Commissioner Billy Joe Underwood, the governor has agreed to keep Baldwin County’s beaches closed until Friday, October 2nd,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “This will allow those communities additional time to get their beaches ready for public enjoyment in a safe, responsible manner.”

Mobile County beaches might open earlier than that.

“Likewise, the governor has been in touch with Mayor Jeff Collier, and she is prepared to amend the beach closure order for Mobile County when he signals that Dauphin Island is ready to reopen their beaches,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “At the present time, all Alabama beaches remain closed until further notice.”

Hurricane Sally came ashore near Gulf Shores on Sept. 16 as a category two hurricane with 105 mile per hour winds. Numerous homes, businesses and farms have been destroyed and many more have seen serious damage.

“As of Wednesday night, approx. 37,000 cubic yards of Hurricane Sally debris (equivalent to roughly 1,700 truck loads worth) has been picked up in Orange Beach since Sunday (4 days),” the city of Orange Beach announced. “Kudos to our debris contractor CrowderGulf.”

“I spent Sunday afternoon meeting with senior staff and I believe we will need some time to get our buildings safe for children to return,” said Baldwin County Schools Superintendent Eddie Taylor in a letter to parents. “We live in a very large county. Power may be on in your area and your school may not have any damage, but we cannot open schools unless all schools can open. Our pacing guides, state testing, meal and accountability requirements are based on the system, not individual schools.”

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“We have schools without power and for which we do not expect power until later this week,” Taylor said. “In this new age, we need internet and communications which are currently down so we cannot run any system tests. We have physical damage at our schools including some with standing water, collapsed ceilings and blown out windows. We have debris on our properties and debris blocking our transportation teams from picking up students. All of this must be resolved before we can successfully re-open.”

“If everything goes as planned, I expect we will welcome back students on Wednesday, September 30,” Taylor said. “Prior to returning students to school, we will hold two teacher work days to get our classrooms and our lessons plans back on track.”

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Economy

SNAP replacement benefits coming to three counties hit by Hurricane Sally

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Gov. Kay Ivey took a tour of the damage from Hurricane Sally on the gulf coast Friday September 18, 2020. (Governor's Office/Hal Yeager)

Thousands of SNAP recipients in Mobile, Baldwin and Escambia counties are set to receive automatic replacement benefits as a result of Hurricane Sally, the Alabama Department of Human Resources announced Thursday.

Recipients who received their benefits Sept. 1 through Sept. 16 will receive a replacement of 50 percent of their regular monthly benefit. Those who received supplemental pandemic maximum allotment payments will receive a replacement of 30 percent of those benefits.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service approved the replacement benefits today at the request of DHR. The benefits are intended to replace food purchased with SNAP that was lost to widespread power outages caused when Hurricane Sally made landfall on Sept. 16.

“Our priority is to remove the very real threat of hunger for the many Alabamians who are struggling from the devastation of Hurricane Sally,” said Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner. “The first step toward that goal is to replace the food that so many Alabamians lost to the storm. We are actively working to obtain additional resources to provide much-needed relief for the region as it recovers.”

Hurricane Sally caused over 265,000 households to lose power for at least four hours in Mobile, Baldwin and Escambia counties, where approximately 54,000 households will receive SNAP benefits totaling an estimated $8.5 million.

Those recipients should expect to see the replacement benefits automatically loaded onto their EBT cards next week.

The Food Assistance Division of DHR administers the SNAP program in Alabama.

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More information about the program can be found at dhr.alabama.gov/food-assistance.

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