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Alabama outpaces national job growth in December

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Jobs in Alabama increased at a 2.2% rate from December 2017 to December 2018, which is the largest over-the-year percentage growth on record. This growth represents an increase of 44,300 jobs.

“We are ending 2018 with great economic news all around,” said Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. “To see this kind of record job growth is extraordinary. Alabama employers have added nearly 45,000 jobs over the past year – economists predicted that our economy would grow by 27,000 jobs. I’m happy to say that we more than exceeded their predictions.”

Nationwide, the U.S. recorded an over-the-year job growth rate of 1.8%.

Alabama’s wage and salary employment reached a record high for the fourth consecutive month, measuring 2,072,600 in December. Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 44,300, with gains in the professional and business services sector (+12,600), the manufacturing sector (+11,300), and the government sector (+5,000), among others.

Monthly gains were seen in the manufacturing sector (+3,000), the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+1,300), and the education and health services sector (+900), among others.

“Alabamians are earning more than ever before. This month, we saw the highest average weekly earnings in history,” continued Washington. “This means more money in the pockets of working Alabamians, helping them to better provide for their families and grow the economy.”

Average weekly earnings in Alabama reached their highest level ever in December, measuring $857.77. Earnings in four subsectors also reached record highs: goods producing saw average weekly earnings of $1,054.16, manufacturing measured $1,074.33, financial activities measured $1,097.26, and professional and business services measured $1,081.61.

Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment December rate is 3.9%, down from November’s rate of 4.0%, and slightly above December 2017’s rate of 3.8%.

The number of people counted as employed has reached record highs for seven consecutive months, with December’s count measuring 2,130,194, which is an increase from November’s count of 2,127,934, and an increase of 49,018 compared to December 2017’s count of 2,081,176. December’s rate represents 86,023 unemployed persons, compared to 87,754 in November and 82,378 in December 2017.

These counties had the lowest unemployment rates: Shelby County at 2.5%, Cullman County at 2.9%, and Marshall, Madison, Limestone, and Elmore Counties at 3.0%. While these counties had the highest unemployment rates: Wilcox County at 8.7%, Clarke County at 7.1%, and Dallas County at 6.6%.

The lowest unemployment rates are these major cities: Homewood and Vestavia Hills at 2.3%, Alabaster, Hoover, Madison, and Northport at 2.5%, and Daphne at 2.9%. While these Major cities had the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 7.9%, Prichard at 6.3%, and Bessemer at 4.8%.

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