Alabama Department of Labor

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Alabama Continues to Break Employment and Job Records

December 21, 2018

Press Releases

News Release
For Immediate Release: December 21, 2018
Alabama Continues to Break Employment and Job Records
Average Weekly Wages at Second Highest Level Ever

MONTGOMERY – Employment and job counts have once again reached record levels. In November 2018, 2,128,082 people were counted as employed, an increase of 46,330 from November 2017. Wage and salary employment, which measures the number of jobs our economy is supporting, grew to 2,069,800, representing a yearly increase of 35,400 jobs.
“Business is booming in Alabama,” said Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. “We are continuing to shatter employment records month after month. Jobs are growing at a record 1.7% yearly growth rate. It’s a great time to be doing business in Alabama.”
Wage and salary employment grew by 1.7% from November 2017 to November 2018, tying with October 2018 and July 2015 for the largest over-the-year percentage growth in history.
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 35,400, with gains in the professional and business services sector (+11,900), the manufacturing sector (+10,200), and the education and health services sector (+3,200), among others.
Wage and salary employment increased in November by 6,400. Monthly gains were seen in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+6,000), the education and health services sector (+1,700), and the government sector (+1,200), among others.
Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 4.0, down from October’s rate of 4.1%, and above November 2017’s rate of 3.8%. November’s rate represents 87,757 unemployed persons, compared to 89,745 in October and 81,970 in November 2017.
“Average weekly earnings continue to increase, with workers seeing an additional $34.76 per week in their paychecks,” continued Washington. “Those working in the manufacturing sector also saw an increase in their earnings, with manufacturing weekly earnings at their highest level in history.”
Total private average weekly earnings increased to $838.89, up from $804.13 in November 2017, representing a $34.76 increase. This represents the second highest level in history, surpassed only by September 2018’s average weekly wages of $849.89.
Manufacturing earnings rose to their highest level in history, to $1062.18 per week.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 2.5%, Marshall, Madison, and Cullman Counties at 2.9%, and Morgan, Limestone, and Elmore Counties at 3.0%. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 7.9%, Clarke County at 6.4%, and Dallas and Lowndes Counties at 5.8%.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Homewood and Vestavia Hills at 2.3%, Alabaster at 2.4%, and Northport, Madison, and Hoover at 2.5%. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 6.5%, Prichard at 6.1%, and Anniston at 4.7%.
Members of the media seeking more information should contact Communications Director Tara Hutchison at (334) 242-8616.

“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.