Special to Atmore News
Gov. Kay Ivey announced recently that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted December unemployment rate is 2.8 percent, up slightly from November’s 2.7 percent rate, and significantly lower than the 3.1 percent recorded in December 2021.
December 2022’s rate represents 63,412 unemployed persons, compared to 63,004 in November 2022 and 69,434 in December 2021. The state had 56,418 more employed residents in 2022 than it did the previous year, bringing the total employed Alabamians to 2,229,259.
“As we close out our economic reporting for 2022, I’m pleased to say that Alabama has recovered well from the pandemic and has maintained positive momentum throughout the year,” the governor said. “We broke records all year long. Our wages are up, jobs are plentiful and still growing, and we’re seeing some of our highest employment in major sectors in more than a decade.”
Total wage and salary employment showed a record high for the year, with an increase of 55,900, bringing the total to 2,120,500.
Among the employment sectors, gains were recorded in the education and health services sector (up 15,400), the professional and business services sector (up 12,700), and the government sector (up 8,600).
“Our economy is supporting more jobs than ever before, with the addition of nearly 56,000 jobs since last year,” Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said. “This represents over-the-year job growth of 2.7 percent, which — excluding immediate pandemic recovery — is one of the highest job growth rates in more than 20 years.
“Also, we’ve got record high employment in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector, and more people are working in the manufacturing and construction sectors since 2008.”
Employment in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector reached 411,700 people, another record high. The manufacturing sector now employs 272,900 people, its highest level since December 2008, and the construction sector (104,900 people), is at its highest level since November 2008.
The lowest unemployment rates were recorded in Shelby County (1.5 percent) and Cullman County (1.6 percent. The counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox County (part of Alabama’s Black Belt) at 9.1 percent, Clarke County (located in Alabama’s southern coastal plain) was next at 6.6 percent.
Major Alabama cities with the lowest unemployment rates are mostly in the Birmingham area. Vestavia Hills and Homewood led the way at 1.3 percent, while Trussville, Madison, Hoover, and Alabaster came in at 1.4 percent. The cities with the highest unemployment rates are Selma (6.3 percent) and Prichard (5.2 percent).