Friday morning, Gov. Kay Ivey’s office announced data that revealed a record number of people employed for December.
According to the Alabama Department of Labor, 2,093,063 people were counted as employed last month, the most ever recorded, up from 2,087,509 in November 2017 and up from 2,047,753 in December 2016.
The preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the state remains at 3.5 percent with 75,698 unemployed.
“We are ending 2017 with great news on the employment front,” Ivey said in a statement that accompanied the data. “Not only have we reached a record low unemployment rate, but now we can add another record to our list – more people are working in Alabama than ever before! We’ve been busy recruiting new business to our state, like our recent announcement of Toyota-Mazda’s decision to locate in North Alabama, bringing 4,000 jobs and more than 300 jobs in Troy due to Kimber’s recent announcement.”
Alabama Secretary of Labor Fitzgerald Washington said the data had exceeded predictions made in the early part of last year.
“In early 2017, economists predicted that Alabama’s economy would gain 18,700 jobs over the year,” he said in the statement. “I’m happy to say that we surpassed that prediction by more than 13,000 jobs, gaining a total of 32,500 jobs. Employers are hiring in Alabama, and we stand ready to provide whatever assistance is needed to make sure that they are able to fill their open positions.”
The data showed normal trends when broken down locally. Shelby County leads the state with a 2.5 percent unemployment rate. Cullman County at 2.8 percent and Marshall, Madison and Lee Counties at 2.9 percent follow.
On the other end of the spectrum, Wilcox County has the highest rate at 9.5 percent, with Clarke County at 6.7 percent and Lowndes County at 6.5 percent.
When broken down by “major city, Birmingham’s southern suburbs lead the way. Vestavia Hills has the state’s lowest rate at 2.1 percent. Homewood comes in at 2.3 percent, and Alabaster and Hoover at 2.4 percent. Cities with high unemployment rates are Selma at 6.3 percent, Prichard at 6.2 percent and Anniston at 5.0 percent.
Jeff Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and works as the editor of Breitbart TV. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeff_poor.