Royal Technologies

Royal Technologies is seen in July 2018.

For eight consecutive months, the number of people counted as employed in Alabama has reached record highs.

Among the areas maintaining low unemployment numbers, Cullman County is tied for second with Marshall County at 3.7 percent. Shelby County, the fastest growing area of the state, has the lowest unemployment at 3.2 percent.

In January, the number of employed residents of Alabama reached 2,123,398, breaking December 2018’s revised count of 2,120,769.

“People are working in Alabama. Employers are hiring in Alabama. We continue to report record numbers of people with jobs, and we are seeing fewer and fewer people counted as unemployed, which is what we like to see,” said Fitzgerald Washington, secretary of the Alabama Department of Labor. 

The number of people counted as unemployed in January measured 83,406, which is the third lowest count in history. A year ago, this number measured 86,250.

“It’s a record trend for the state, and for us,” said Cullman County Economic Development Agency Director Dale Greer. “Most of North Alabama is doing well. There is a lot of growth in the state and success just breeds success.”

For the fifth year in a row, Cullman was ranked in top 10 cities with populations between 10,000 and 50,000 for industrial investments, expansion and job growth. Cullman was No. 7 out of 551 cities in the latest ranking.

Another closely watched ranking came from POLICOM, which examines cities for economic growth including retail, government, construction, medical and agriculture. Cullman is 82nd in that ranking, which marked a 147-place rise in two years.

“The workforce, the willingness to work and the training that is available here have long been strengths for our area,” Greer said. “We continue to be leaders in training and you see a lot of that across Alabama.”

Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted January 2019 unemployment rate is 3.8 percent, unchanged from December 2018’s rate, and below January 2018’s rate of 3.9 percent. Following end-of-year revisions, 3.8 percent marks the record low unemployment rate for Alabama.

“While maintaining our record low unemployment rate, we’ve also seen some great over-the-year growth in some of our high wage industries,” Washington said. “Both the construction, information, and manufacturing sectors saw significant increases from January 2018 to January 2019.”

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 31,500, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (7,600), the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (4,400), and the construction sector (4,200), among others.

The construction sector experienced job growth measuring 5 percent over-the-year, the information sector experienced growth measuring 3.9 percent and the manufacturing sector experienced job growth measuring 1.4 percent over-the-year.

Other counties with low unemployment rates are: Tuscaloosa, Morgan, Madison, and Elmore counties at 3.8 percent. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 10.5 percent, Lowndes County at 8.2 percent, and Clarke County at 7.9 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Homewood at 2.7 percent, Vestavia Hills at 2.9 percent, and Alabaster at 3 percent. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 8.8 percent, Prichard at 7.5 percent, and Anniston at 6.1 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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