For Immediate Release: December 20, 2019
Alabama Hits Another New Record Low Unemployment Rate of 2.7%
State Gains 50,000 Jobs Over the Year; Attains Highest Job Growth Rate of 2019
MONTGOMERY – Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today that, for the seventh month in a row, Alabama has reached a new record low unemployment rate. Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted November unemployment rate is 2.7%, down from October’s previous record rate of 2.8%, and well below November 2018’s rate of 3.8%.
“For seven months in a row now, we have announced record-breaking jobs numbers in Alabama,” said Governor Kay Ivey. “We are consistently seeing yearly drops that are the highest in the nation. 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!”
November’s rate represents 2,203,495 employed persons, a new record high, and represents an over-the-year increase of 82,609. 61,963 people were counted as unemployed, a new record low, down from 83,298 in November 2018. The civilian labor force also reached a new record high of 2,265,458, representing an over-the-year increase of 61,274.
“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,” said Washington. “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.
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,” continued Washington. “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:
• Manufacturing: 273,700
o Motor Vehicle Manufacturing: 14,600
• Service Providing: 1,736,700
o Professional and Business Services: 261,000
o Education and Health Services: 252,900
Manufacturing employment measures 273,700 in November, its highest level since November 2008. The motor vehicle manufacturing (14,600), service providing (1,736,700), professional and business services (261,000), and education and health services (252,900) sectors are registering record high levels of employment.
Alabama’s job growth rate for November is 2.4%, the highest recorded in 2019. It surpasses the national job growth rate of 1.5%. This marks the tenth month that Alabama’s job growth rate has matched or exceeded the national rate.
Wages also increased, 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 are: Shelby County at 1.8%, Marshall County at 2.0%, and Limestone and Madison Counties at 2.1%. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: 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 are: 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 are: Selma at 5.0%, Prichard at 4.8%, and Anniston and Bessemer at 3.6%.
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.
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