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State, area jobless numbers fall

MONTGOMERY A pair of North Alabama counties posted the lowest unemployment rates in the state, according to figures released by Gov. Kay Ivey’s office today.

Also, the cities of Madison and Athens are among the state’s major cities with lowest jobless numbers.

Ivey announced Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted December unemployment rate is 2.8%, up slightly from November’s rate of 2.7%, and well below December 2021’s rate of 3.1%. December’s rate represents 63,412 unemployed persons, compared to 63,004 in November and 69,434 in December 2021.

People counted as employed rose over the year by 56,418 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,” said Ivey. “We broke records all year long, reminding everyone that Alabama is the best place to live, to work and open a business. 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.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the progress we’ve made.”

Among the counties, Morgan and Marshall counties have the state’s third-lowest rate at 1.7%. Morgan’s rate is down from November’s 1.9% and December 2021’s 2.0%. Marshall County is down from 1.8% in November and December 2021.

Other counties (alphabetically) are: Colbert – 2.7% December, 2.7% November, 3.1% in December 2021; DeKalb – 1.9%, 2.0%, 1.9%; Franklin – 2.3%, 2.2%, 2.0%; Jackson – 2.1%, 2.1%, 2.2%; Lauderdale – 2.3%, 2.4%, 2.5%; Lawrence – 2.0%, 2.2%, 2.2%; Limestone – 1.8%, 1.9%, 1.9%; and Madison – 1.8%, 2.0%, 2.0%.

Among the cities, Madison had the second-lowest at 1.4%. Its rate is down from November’s 1.6% and December 2021’s 1.7% rate. Athens followed with a 1.7% rate down from 2.0% in November but up from 1.3% in December 2021.

Other large cities are (alphabetically) Decatur – 1.9%, 2.0%, 2.2%; Florence – 2.5%, 2.4%, 2.6%; and Huntsville – 2.0%, 2.1%, 2.2%.

People counted as employed rose over the year by 56,418 to 2,229,259.

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 55,900, to a record high 2,120,500. The increase was paced with gains in the education and health services sector (more than 15,400), the professional and business services sector (more than 12,700), and the government sector (more than 8,600), among others.

Wage and salary employment increased in December by 300. Monthly gains were seen in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (3,100), the government sector (1,100), and the construction sector (500), among others.

“Our economy is supporting more jobs than ever before, with the addition of nearly 56,000 jobs since last year,” said Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. “This represents over-the-year job growth of 2.7%, 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.”

The trade, transportation, and utilities sector is registering employment of 411,700 people, a record high. The manufacturing sector, with employment of 272,900 people, is at its highest level since December 2008, while the construction sector, with employment of 104,900 people, is at its highest level since November 2008.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 1.5%, Cullman County at 1.6%, and Morgan and Marshall counties at 1.7%. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 9.1%, Clarke County at 6.6%, and Dallas County at 5.3%.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills and Homewood at 1.3%, Trussville, Madison, Hoover, and Alabaster at 1.4%, and Athens and Northport at 1.7%. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 6.3%, Prichard at 5.2%, and Bessemer at 3.5%.

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