State employment at record levels

Published 12:40 am Saturday, April 27, 2019

The number of people counted as employed in Alabama is at a record high, announced Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. 

“Once again, we’ve shattered employment records in Alabama,” said Washington.  “More people are working now than ever before in Alabama’s history.  Employers are continuing to post jobs, companies are moving operations, and our existing businesses are expanding, all of which is great news for Alabamians.”

2,132,578 people were counted as employed in March, up from 2,127,676 in February, and up 28,953 from March 2018’s count of 2,103,625. March’s rate represents 82,368 unemployed persons, compared to 82,247 in February and 88,723 in March 2018.

Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted March unemployment rate is 3.7 percent, unchanged from February and remaining at a record low, and well below March 2018’s rate of 4.0 percent. 

“We’re seeing great growth in some of our high wage sectors as well,” continued Washington.  “Building construction employment has increased by nearly 11 percent over the year, and aerospace parts and manufacturing is right behind it with more than 10 percent growth.”

Building construction employment increased to 21,200 in March, representing a yearly growth of 10.99 percent, while aerospace products and parts manufacturing employment increased to 13,100, representing a yearly growth of 10.08 percent.

Wage and salary employment increased over the year by 33,200. Sectors showing the most over-the-year growth were: leisure and hospitality (+5,900), professional and business services (+5,600), and manufacturing (+4,700), among others.

Monthly gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector (+3,400), the construction sector (+2,500), and the professional and business services sector (+2,000), among others.

Additionally, construction sector weekly earnings showed tremendous growth over-the-month, rising to a record high of $1010.21, representing a $61.39 increase from February, and marking the first time in history this sector’s average earnings exceeded $1,000.

In Covington County, the jobless rate for March was 4.3 percent, compared to 4.6 percent in March of 2018.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 2.8%, Marshall County at 3.2 percent, and Morgan, Madison, and Elmore Counties at 3.3 percent.  Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 8.4 percent, Lowndes County at 6.7 percent, and Clarke County at 6.5 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Homewood and Northport at 2.6 percent, Hoover and Vestavia Hills at 2.7 percent, and Alabaster at 2.8 percent.  Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 7.5 percent, Prichard at 6.1 percent, and Anniston at 5.3 percent.