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Alabama reaches new record low unemployment rate for seventh straight month — ‘Banner year’

Alabama has done it again under the Ivey administration, shattering five jobs-related economic records once more.

First, Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington on Friday announced — for the seventh month in a row — the Yellowhammer State has reached a new record low unemployment rate.

Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted November unemployment rate was 2.7%, down from October’s previous record rate of 2.8% and well below November 2018’s rate of 3.8%.

November 2019’s rate represents 2,203,495 employed persons, another new record high, and represents an incredible over-the-year increase of 82,609.

Additionally, 61,963 people were counted as unemployed in November, also a new record low, down from 83,298 in November of last year. The civilian labor force reached a new record high of 2,265,458 as well, representing an over-the-year increase of 61,274.

In a statement, Governor Kay Ivey said, “For seven months in a row now, we have announced record-breaking jobs numbers in Alabama.”

“We are consistently seeing yearly drops that are the highest in the nation,” she continued. “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!”

Alabama’s job growth rate for November was 2.4%, the highest recorded in 2019. The state’s rate far surpassed the national job growth rate of 1.5% and marks the 10th month this year that Alabama’s job growth rate has matched or exceeded the national rate.

“The number of jobs our economy is supporting is, yet again, at a record high. We’ve seen a gain of more than 50,000 jobs since this time last year,” Washington commented. “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.”

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.

This came after 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 concluded. “Other sectors are currently experiencing their highest levels of employment in history. Employers are hiring, and people are finding work.”

Sectors with record-high employment levels as follows:

  • Manufacturing: 273,700
    • Motor Vehicle Manufacturing: 14,600
  • Service Providing: 1,736,700
    • Professional and Business Services: 261,000
    • Education and Health Services: 252,900

Manufacturing employment in Alabama is now at its highest level since November 2008.

Wages also increased in November, both over-the-month and over-the-year. Average weekly earnings in November were $863.11, up $1.06 from October and up $21.56 from November 2018.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates in November were Shelby County at 1.8%; Marshall County at 2.0%; and Limestone and Madison Counties at 2.1%.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox County at 6.3%; Clarke County at 4.8%; and Greene and Lowndes Counties at 4.7%.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates were: Homewood and Vestavia at 1.6%; Northport at 1.7%; and Alabaster, Hoover and Madison at 1.8%.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates were: Selma at 5.0%; Prichard at 4.8%; and Anniston and Bessemer at 3.6%.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn