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Alabama hits record low unemployment rate of 2.7 percent


Friday, Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced that, for the seventh month in a row, Alabama has reached a new record low unemployment rate. Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted November unemployment rate was a shockingly low 2.7 percent, down from October’s previous record rate of 2.8 percent, and well below November 2018’s rate of 3.8 percent.

“For seven months in a row now, we have announced record-breaking jobs numbers in Alabama,” said Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R). “We are consistently seeing yearly drops that are the highest in the nation. Our jobs count continues to break records and beat expectations. More than 80,000 Alabamians are working today that weren’t last year. All this data combines to paint a picture of economic health in Alabama. We have one more month to report on for 2019, but it’s certainly shaping up to be a banner year!”

In November 2,203,495 Alabamians had a job. This is another new record high. Despite already being at full employment, according to classical economists, Alabama managed to add another 82,609 jobs since November 2018. Only 61,963 people were counted as unemployed. That is yet another new record low, and is down substantially from the 83,298 that were unemployed in November 2018. The civilian labor force also reached a new record high of 2,265,458, representing an over-the-year increase of 61,274 people.

“The number of jobs our economy is supporting is, yet again, at a record high,” Secretary Washington said. “We’ve seen a gain of more than 50,000 jobs since this time last year. Our job growth rate in November is the highest it’s been all year, and we’ve once again surpassed the national job growth rate.”

Economic developer Dr. Nicole Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter, “We are living in a red-letter time in history with continuous record low unemployment. Alabama is open for business, and companies are hiring.”

“Over 273,000 Alabamians are employed in manufacturing, the highest in eleven years,” Dr. Jones added. “Much of this economic resurgence can be credited to tax and workforce development policies initiated by the Trump Administration. The Pledge to America’s Workers, for example, includes commitments from businesses and trade groups to offer programs that educate, train, and reskill workers of all ages. Companies are bringing their plants back to the United States and willing to invest in their human capital again – and when the majority of folks are working, we all benefit.”

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 50,400, with gains in the professional and business services sector (+14,900), the leisure and hospitality sector (+8,800), the government sector (+6,900), and the manufacturing sector (+4,900), among others.

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Wage and salary employment grew in November by 9,100. Monthly gains were seen in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+5,500), the government sector (+3,800), and the education and health services sector (+900), among others.

“Manufacturing employment in Alabama is at its highest level in 11 years,” Washington said. “Other sectors are currently experiencing their highest levels of employment in history. Employers are hiring, and people are finding work.”

Manufacturing employment has reached 273,700. 14,600 of those work in motor vehicle manufacturing, also a record high and a high that is expected to increase further when Mazda-Toyota opens their new plant in Limestone County. 1,736,700 Alabamians now work in the service sector. 261,000 of those provide professional and business services. 252,900 provide education and health services.

Alabama’s job growth rate for November is 2.4 percent, the highest recorded in 2019. It surpasses the national job growth rate of 1.5 percent. This marks the tenth month that Alabama’s job growth rate has matched or exceeded the national rate.

Wages are also continuing to climb across the state. Average weekly earnings in November were $863.11, which is up $1.06 from October, and up $21.56 from November 2018.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 1.8 percent, Marshall County at 2.0 percent, and Limestone and Madison Counties at 2.1 percent. The counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 6.3 percent, Clarke County at 4.8 percent, and Greene and Lowndes Counties at 4.7 percent. 66 of Alabama’s 67 counties are at full employment, according to the classical definition of 5.0 percent or less.

The major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Homewood and Vestavia at 1.6 percent, Northport at 1.7 percent, and Alabaster, Hoover, and Madison at 1.8 percent. The major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 5.0 percent, Prichard at 4.8 percent, and Anniston and Bessemer at 3.6 percent. Even Alabama’s poorest major cities are now at full employment.

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This Christmas, everyone who is capable of working, who wants a job can find a job with a little effort.


Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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