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Alabama’s unemployment rate drops to 6.0%, lowest rate in over six years

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and state officials visit the Golden Dragon plant
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and state officials visit the Golden Dragon plant

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Gov. Robert Bentley on Friday announced that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted November unemployment rate is 6.0%, down from October’s rate of 6.3%.

“Seasonal adjustment” refers to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 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 the effects of those fluctuations from their final numbers.

“Alabama’s unemployment rate has not only continued its downward trend, but has reached a level we have not seen in more than six years,” Bentley said. “Additionally, we continue to see strong growth in wage and salary employment, which is also at its highest point in nearly six years. This is a testament to the economic progress we have made in Alabama, and our efforts will continue until every Alabamian who wants a job has the opportunity to acquire one.”

November marks the lowest rate of unemployment since Gov. Bentley became governor in January of 2011. The last time the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Alabama was at or below 6.0% was October 2008, during the Riley administration, when the rate was 5.9%.

In the last 12 months, wage and salary employment increased 33,700, with gains in the professional and business services sector (+11,100), the leisure and hospitality sector (+8,900), the manufacturing sector (+7,400), and the construction sector (+4,700), among others.

Wage and salary employment grew in November by 7,700 to 1,954,400. Monthly gains were seen in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+6,200), the education and health services sector (+1,500), and the government sector (+1,100), among others. The last time wage and salary employment was at or above the current level was December 2008.

The annual increase in wage and salary employment represents job growth of 1.75%, the highest since June 2006, when it was 2.21%.

“The job growth we are experiencing in Alabama is encouraging,” said Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington. “What is even more encouraging is that of the sectors in which we are experiencing the most growth, three sectors have average annual salaries of more than $45,000. These are good, high paying jobs that are helping Alabama families grow and succeed.”

JobLink, the state’s online free jobs database, registered 22,974 active job orders in November. The Help Wanted Online (HWOL) data showed 48,261 total job ads were placed online in Alabama. The most advertised careers continue to be truck drivers, retail supervisors, and registered nurses.

All 67 Alabama counties saw either no change or a drop in their unemployment rates this month. Additionally, 84% of the counties have lower unemployment rates now than they did one year ago.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 3.8%, Lee and Cherokee Counties at 4.2%, and Cullman County at 4.3%. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 12.2%, Bullock County at 11.8%, and Dallas County at 10.7%.

The governor has committed to not draw a salary until Alabama reaches “full employment,” which is 5.2%. If the current trend continues, it may not be long before he’s able to start taking a check.

HeaderAlabama unemployment November 2014


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