Connect with us

Economy

U.S. economy adds 225,000 jobs in January

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Many economists had been expecting an economic slowdown in 2020 after an extremely prosperous 2019. January, however, vastly exceeded expectations. The U.S. added 225,000 jobs in January.

Trade tensions were greatly eased after President Donald J. Trump (R) formally signed the United States Mexico Trade Agreement (USMCA) into law and reached a Phase One trade agreement with China. Economists also credit the mild winter weather with helping boost a resilient labor market.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a January jobs report showing that the economy added 225,000 and the labor participation rate increased by .2 percent to 63.4 percent. With the unexpected increase in the labor force, the unemployment actually went up slightly to 3.6 percent. The report was far better than projections of economists, who expected the U.S. to add between 150,000 and 160,000 workers.

Economic developer Dr. Nicole Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter, “We have a president willing to tackle challenging economic and foreign policy issues that previous administrations have not always had the political courage to do so.”

“Our country witnessed significant economic milestones within the past month,” Dr. Jones said. “President Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signed Phase One of a long overdue trade deal that serves as a foundation to create more equitable trade practices. President Trump also signed the USMCA, which is anticipated to create 80,000 new jobs and $30 billion dollars of new investments in the automobile industry. In addition, the agreement will open new markets for American wheat, poultry, eggs, and other agricultural products.”

The trade war with China had created some weakness in the farm economy, despite a booming overall U.S. economy. The agreement from China to resume purchasing American farm products appears to have addressed that weakness.

The sectors that saw the largest gains last month were education and health services with 72,000 new jobs, construction with over 44,000), and leisure and hospitality with over 36,000 jobs.

Public Service Announcement

“Confidence is up in the United States,” Dr. Jones added. “Companies are hiring and investing in their human capital again. Pro-business, pro-American policies and allowing the private sector to drive the market are methods that work (pun intended!) Unemployment rates are at historic lows, and when folks have jobs, we all benefit.”

The U.S. economy has added 7 million jobs since President Trump was elected in 2016. In the 38 months since the election, the economy has created at least 100,000 jobs in 34 of those months and has added jobs every single month.

After two decades of flat wages, Americans are also seeing higher earnings. The past year and a half saw the strongest earnings gains since the recession. The BLS reports that average hourly earnings grew 3.1 percent year-over-year, marking the 18th consecutive month of growth of 3 percent or more. Wages rose even faster for production and non-supervisory workers, who saw 3.3 percent year-over-year growth. Under President Trump, workers’ wages have grown faster than their managers’ wages which is a marked change from the previous two decades.

ADVERTISEMENT

January was the 23rd consecutive month with unemployment below 4.0 percent.

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.

Advertisement

Economy

New unemployment claims continued dropping last week

Micah Danney

Published

on

(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.

Continue Reading

Economy

Unemployment benefits could change for some Alabamians

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

Eddie Burkhalter

Published

on

(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:

Public Service Announcement
  • 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.

Continue Reading

Economy

Alabama Gulf Coast beaches remain closed for now

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

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.”

Public Service Announcement

“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.”

Continue Reading

Economy

SNAP replacement benefits coming to three counties hit by Hurricane Sally

Staff

Published

on

By

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.

Public Service Announcement

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

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement