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.
“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.
January was the 23rd consecutive month with unemployment below 4.0 percent.
Business Council of Alabama Small Business Exchange on APT tonight
The Business Council of Alabama (BCA) will present the Small Business Exchange on Alabama Public Television (APT) tonight, Thursday, April 9. This event is designed to help small businesses applying for federal stimulus funding under the new CARES Act.
In partnership with APT, BCA will bring together experts in business, banking, accounting, and law to answer phone calls from Alabama business owners and employers as they grapple with the impact of the coronavirus on the state’s economy. New federal loans are now available for small businesses, but funding is limited in some cases and quick action is required.
The Small Business Exchange program airs tonight on APT from 7-8 p.m. BCA experts will be available to answer questions from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. tonight. In addition, experts will be available for consultation from 9.a.m. to noon tomorrow, Friday, April 10.
To ask a question or consult with our BCA experts during these times, the phone number is 1-833-BCA4BIZ (1-833-222-4249).
Manufacture Alabama launches “Ask the Experts” webinar
Ask the Experts: Employment Law Questions Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic is a new webinar being offered by Manufacture Alabama.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, disrupting the lives of everyone around our state, country, and the globe, employers are left with many questions and Manufacture Alabama wants to answer them.
Manufacture Alabama is the only trade association in the state dedicated exclusively to the competitive, legislative, regulatory, and operational interests and needs of manufacturers and their partner industries and businesses.
Manufacture Alabama has enlisted some of the top labor and employment attorneys in Alabama to bring you the first installment of a web series, ‘Ask the Experts.’ In the first installment, their experts will be answering your questions about implementing the new CARES Act Leave guidelines, and best practices for what to do if you have an employee test positive for COVID-19.
The attorneys will also be covering questions whether they are questions related to OSHA standards, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act or the impact of the CARES Act, or anything else labor or employment-related.
Manufacture Alabama also wants to hear stories of the changes manufacturers have experienced in the workplace as a result of the pandemic, and how businesses have changed day to day operations.
Send your questions and responses regarding these topics to [email protected] and stay tuned.
The webinar will be published Tuesday, April 14.
Ainsworth unveils website for small businesses seeking information during pandemic
Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth unveiled a new web page Monday designed to provide small business owners with a one-stop information hub during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and forced economic shutdown.
The website is www.atlasalabama.gov.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is already providing small business owners with unprecedented challenges and frustrations, so they should not have to struggle to find the information necessary to survive in the current economic climate,” Ainsworth said. “As new small business programs are announced and revised health orders go into effect, the website will be updated in order to provide the most timely and accurate information possible.”
The website was created by the Alabama Small Business Commission, which Ainsworth chairs. The site provides information related to Small Business Administration loans and assistance, unemployment claims, tax relief programs, and other timely initiatives.
The website is intended to help small businesses remain in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines and protocols. The website also provides links to every state, county, and municipal health order currently being enforced in Alabama.
The Legislature placed the Alabama Small Business Commission under the authority of the Lieutenant Governor’s Office in 2019.
The 22-member commission is tasked with formulating “policies encouraging innovation of small businesses in the state” and advising the Department of Commerce in promoting small businesses within Alabama.
On March 12, the rapidly spreading coronavirus strain, SARS-CoV-2, led President Donald J. Trump (R) to order a forced economic shutdown on March 12. Those original orders have subsequently been strengthened by Gov. Kay Ivey (R), culminating in a statewide shelter in place order on Friday.
Realizing that with most of their businesses shut down through at least April 30, Congress passed and the President signed the CARES Act, which provides low interest loans to hundreds of thousands of struggling small businesses. If the businesses use the money to make payroll and to pay other business overhead costs the loans will be forgiven.
Currently, there are 2,113 Alabamians with confirmed cases of COVID-19. 64 Alabamians have died and 271 are currently in the hospital. 20 Alabamians have recovered from their illness and been cleared by their doctors. The global pandemic has infected more than 1,441,589 people globally and killed 82,933, including 7,380 people just on Tuesday (1,970 of them were Americans). Gov. Ivey’s shelter in place order is in effect through April 30, but that is likely to be extended.
Businesses applying for aid can receive proof of existence from secretary of state’s office
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said Monday that federal resources have been made available to support businesses during the coronavirus pandemic to assist with tax relief, employee protection and benefits, loans and grants, and many other challenges that business owners may encounter during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Merrill’s office explained that in order to be eligible for this federal aid, some corporations and businesses may be required to prove their existence as part of their application. Certificates of Existence can be obtained through visiting the Alabama Secretary of State’s website.
Business owners can apply online to receive their Certificate of Existence electronically for immediate processing. The non-subscriber fee is $28 and will allow a user to download their copy for up to 15 days.
If you are completing the request for a Certificate of Existence by paper, you may access the application here.
The form must be typed and will not be accepted via email.
Once completed, mail the application, along with the $25 filing fee, to:
Secretary of State’s Business Services Division
P.O. Box 5616,
Montgomery, Alabama 36103
Those who apply online will not receive a mailed copy. Rather, a copy can be downloaded online and then printed out.
Certificates of Existence are only available for businesses who have previously filed for formation with the Secretary of State’s Office. If you have not yet filed, you are still able to do so through the Secretary of State’s website
This documentation may also be required to process loan applications by lending institutions, banks, credit unions, farm credit, or public accountants.
For questions or more information, contact the Secretary of State’s Business Services Division at (334) 242-7221 or (334) 242-5324.
Thousands of Alabama businesses have been forced to close by orders from the state as well as local health departments. Many businessmen and women are having to make the difficult decision on whether or not to continue to make payroll. The aid under the CARES Act is a lifeline to businesses that the federal government is offering during this unprecedented period of economic crisis.
The forced economic shutdown was deemed necessary by state and federal government authorities in consultation with public health experts in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus strain, SARS-CoV-2, that causes COVID-19. The COVID-19 global pandemic has already killed 12,857 Americans and 82,993 people globally. 1,050,077 people around the globe are still struggling through active cases of the illness, including 395,981 Americans.
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