State, county maintain record low unemployment

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Alabama, and Shelby County, ended 2019 by maintaining a record low unemployment rate.

Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted December 2019 unemployment rate was 2.7 percent, unchanged from November 2019, and well below December 2018’s rate of 3.8 percent.

“I’m so proud to be able to close out this decade with record-breaking economic measures,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “All year long, we’ve had good news to share, and to be able to end the year, and the decade, on such a positive note is wonderful. Earlier this year, Alabama had never reported an unemployment rate lower than 3 percent, and now we’ve had one for the last three months! Nearly 84,000 more people have jobs now than last year. I’m excited about the path that Alabama is on, and the positive impacts this news has on our people.”

December 2019’s rate represents 2,204,740 employed people, a new record high, representing an increase of 83,971 from December 2018. 61,458 people were counted as unemployed, also a new record, a drop of 22,051 from last year. The civilian labor force grew by 61,920 over the year, to a new record high of 2,266,198.

“For the eleventh month in a row, our job growth has met or surpassed the nation’s,” said Washington. “We’ve gained over 46,000 jobs since last December, and we continue to see employers posting job ads.”

Alabama’s job growth rate for December 2019 was 2.2 percent. It surpasses the national job growth rate of 1.4 percent. This marks the eleventh month that Alabama’s job growth rate has matched or exceeded the national rate.

“Average weekly wages showed significant growth this month, registering at an all-time high,” continued Washington. “Additionally, we saw many sectors and subsectors reach all-time wage highs, including manufacturing, with a monthly wage increase of $25.57, and financial activities, with a monthly wage increase of $50.78.”

Shelby County’s unemployment rate of 1.8 percent was again the lowest in the state. The rate was unchanged from the November 2019 rate of 1.8 percent and below the December 2018 rate of 2.5 percent.

Unemployment rates for counties surrounding Shelby include Jefferson at 2.3 percent, St. Clair at 2.2 percent, Talladega at 2.9 percent, Coosa at 2.5 percent, Chilton at 2.3 percent and Bibb at 2.5 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates were Vestavia Hills at 1.4 percent, Homewood at 1.6 percent, and Hoover and Northport at 1.7 percent.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Prichard at 5 percent, Selma at 4.9 percent and Bessemer at 3.7 percent.