Jobs Report

FILE - In this March 7 photo visitors to the Pittsburgh veterans job fair meet with recruiters at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. On Friday, May 3, the U.S. government issues the April jobs report. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

Alabama set four new economic records in July, Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced Friday.

July’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 3.3 percent, setting a new record low, beating last month’s previous record low of 3.5 percent. July’s rate represents 2,171,721 employed people, a new record high, measuring 11,244 more than last month’s count, and 57,413 more than in July 2018.

Cullman County’s unemployment rate dropped to 2.6 percent in July, down from June’s 3 percent, and July 2018’s 3.5 percent.

“More than 57,000 Alabamians have jobs today that didn’t a year ago,” said Gov. Kay Ivey. “That means that 57,000 more Alabamians have work and are contributing to their communities and our state. The effort we are making to bring jobs and employers to Alabama is working. We are consistently improving our workforce and preparing Alabama for the future.”

“I’m proud to see our unemployment rate decrease and continue to reach record lows,” said Washington. “This month we also saw the number of people counted as unemployed fall to its lowest count ever. More people are joining the workforce, with the expectation that they will find work, and, for the most part, they are. But even as we celebrate these records, we know that there is still work to be done. We’re proving month after month that Alabama has good, quality jobs. We stand ready to assist anyone who’s ready to work.”

The number of people counted as unemployed dropped to a new record low of 75,157, which represents a drop of 12,761 people from July 2018.

The civilian labor force increased over the year by 44,652 to a record high 2,246,878. The civilian labor force represents the number of people, aged 16 and over, who are either working or looking for work, excluding the military and those in institutions.

“Our over-the-year job growth measured 2 percent this month, which outpaced the nation’s job growth by half of a percentage point. In fact, Alabama has matched or outpaced the national growth rate for six out of seven months in 2019,” continued Washington. “Alabama’s economy added over 40,000 more jobs in the last 12 months, with at least four sectors reaching record level employment highs.”

Over-the-year job growth measured 2 percent, compared to the national growth rate of 1.5 percent. The only month in 2019 in which Alabama did not match or outpace the national growth was January, when Alabama’s growth rate measured 1.8 percent, and the national rate was 2 percent.

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 40,200, with gains in the professional and business services sector (+8,700), the leisure and hospitality sector (+7,700), and the education and health services sector (+5,000), among others.

Four sectors saw record high levels of employment in July: transportation equipment manufacturing (66,600), motor vehicle manufacturing (14,100), leisure and hospitality (219,200), and computer systems design (26,300).

All 67 counties saw declines in their over-the-year unemployment rates, with drops ranging from more than half of a percentage point to more than three percentage points. Sixty-four of 67 counties saw no increase or a decline in their over-the-month unemployment rates, as well.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 2.1 percent, Marshall County at 2.4 percent, and Elmore and Baldwin Counties at 2.5 percent. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 7.5 percent, Greene County at 7.0 percent, and Perry County at 6.7 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 1.7 percent, Homewood and Alabaster at 2 percent, and Hoover at 2.1 percent. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 7.3 percent, Prichard at 6.2 percent, and Anniston at 4.6 percent.

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David Palmer has decades of experience in the newspaper industry. He currently serves as editor of The Cullman Times.

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