Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced last week that the state maintained its record low unemployment rate to end 2019. The state ended with a preliminary, seasonally adjusted December unemployment rate of 2.7%, unchanged from November 2019, and well below December 2018’s rate of 3.8%, according to a press release from the Alabama Department of Labor.
Limestone County ended the year with a 2.2% unemployment rate.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 1.8%; Marshall, Madison and Cullman counties at 2.1%; and Tuscaloosa, St. Clair, Morgan, Limestone, Lee and Elmore counties at 2.2%.
Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 6.8%, Clarke County at 5.5%, and Greene and Lowndes counties at 4.8%.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 1.4%, Homewood at 1.6% and Hoover and Northport at 1.7%. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Prichard at 5.0%, Selma at 4.9% and Bessemer at 3.7%.
“I’m so proud to be able to close out this decade with record-breaking economic measures,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “All year long, we’ve had good news to share, and to be able to end the year — and the decade — on such a positive note is wonderful. Earlier this year, Alabama had never reported an unemployment rate lower than 3.0%, and now we’ve had one for the last three months. Nearly 84,000 more people have jobs now than last year. I’m excited about the path that Alabama is on, and the positive impacts this news has on our people.”
December’s rate represents 2,204,740 employed people, a new record high and an increase of 83,971 from December 2018, according to the Alabama Department of Labor. 61,458 people were counted as unemployed, a drop of 22,051 from last year and also a new record. The civilian labor force grew by 61,920 over the year, to a new record high of 2,266,198.
Wage and salary employment grew over the year by 46,300, according to the Alabama Department of Labor. Yearly gains were seen in the professional and business services sector (+15,000), the leisure and hospitality sector (+7,800), and the government sector (+6,100), among others. Over the month, gains were seen in the trade, transportation and utilities sector (+4,000), the construction sector (+700), and the professional and business services sector (+200).
Alabama’s job growth rate for December is 2.2%, according to the Alabama Department of Labor. This surpasses the national job growth rate of 1.4%. This also marks the 11th month that Alabama’s job growth rate matched or exceeded the national rate.
Total private average weekly wages measured $875.44 in December, representing a monthly increase of $15.14 and a yearly increase of $8.81.