Governor Kay Ivey announced Friday that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted December unemployment rate was 2.8 percent, up slightly from November’s rate of 2.7 percent, and well below December 2021’s rate of 3.1 percent.
December’s rate represents 63,412 unemployed persons, compared to 63,004 in November and 69,434 in December 2021. People counted as employed rose over the year by 56,418 to 2,229,259.
“As we close out our economic reporting for 2022, I’m pleased to say that Alabama has recovered well from the pandemic and has maintained positive momentum throughout the year,” Ivey said. “We broke records all year long, reminding everyone that Alabama is the best place to live, to work and open a business. Our wages are up, jobs are plentiful and still growing and we’re seeing some of our highest employment in major sectors in more than a decade. I couldn’t be more proud of the progress we’ve made.”
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 55,900, to 2,120,500, a new record high, with gains in the education and health services sector (+15,400), the professional and business services sector (+12,700), and the government sector (+8,600), among others.
Wage and salary employment increased in December by 300. Monthly gains were seen in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+3,100), the government sector (+1,100), and the construction sector (+500), among others.
“Our economy is supporting more jobs than ever before, with the addition of nearly 56,000 jobs since last year,” said Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. “This represents over-the-year job growth of 2.7 percent, which, excluding immediate pandemic recovery, is one of the highest job growth rates in more than 20 years. Also, we’ve got record high employment in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector, and more people are working in the manufacturing and construction sectors since 2008.”
The trade, transportation, and utilities sector is registering employment of 411,700 people, a record high. The manufacturing sector, with employment of 272,900 people, is at its highest level since December 2008, while the construction sector, with employment of 104,900 people, is at its highest level since November 2008.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 1.5 percent, Cullman County at 1.6 percent, and Morgan and Marshall Counties at 1.7 percent. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 9.1 percent, Clarke County at 6.6 percent, and Dallas County at 5.3 percent.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills and Homewood at 1.3 percent, Trussville, Madison, Hoover, and Alabaster at 1.4 percent, and Athens and Northport at 1.7 percent. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 6.3 percent, Prichard at 5.2 percent, and Bessemer at 3.5 percent.
“Seasonal adjustment” refers to BLS’s practice of anticipating certain trends in the labor force, such as hiring during the holidays or the surge in the labor force when students graduate in the spring, and removing their effects to the civilian labor force.
The Current Population (CPS), or the household survey, is conducted by the Census Bureau and identifies members of the work force and measures how many people are working or looking for work.
The establishment survey, which is conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, surveys employers to measure how many jobs are in the economy. This is also referred to as wage and salary employment.