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Record-low unemployment continues

The Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL) on Friday released unemployment numbers for December 2019, which were unchanged statewide over November’s rate of 2.7 percent.

For her part, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is celebrating the fact that Alabama has maintained its record-low unemployment rate throughout 2019.

“I’m so proud to be able to close out this decade with record-breaking economic measures,” Ivey said in an ADOL press release. “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 percent 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.”

Though still listed among the “major cities” with the highest unemployment rates, Selma’s December 2019 unemployment rate of 4.6 percent represents a significant decrease from December 2018, when the city’s unemployment rate was at 7.9 percent.

Month-over-month, there was no change in Selma’s unemployment rate.

Other major cities listed as having some of the state’s highest unemployment rates were Prichard, 5 percent, and Bessemer, 3.7 percent.

Dallas County’s December 2019 unemployment rate came in at 4.4 percent, an increase of one-tenth of a percent from November but a dramatic decrease since December 2018’s rate of 6.5 percent.

Dallas County slid off of the list of counties with the highest unemployment rates, leaving behind Wilcox County, 6.8 percent, Clarke County, 5.5 percent, and Greene and Lowndes counties, 4.8 percent, all of which are counties in the Black Belt.

Statewide, December’s rate represents more than 2.2 million people employed, a record for the state and an increase of more than 83,000 over December 2018 numbers.

Nearly 61,500 people were counted as unemployed, also a new record and a decrease of more than 22,000 since December 2018.

“For the eleventh month in a row, our job growth has met or surpassed the nation’s,” said ADOL Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. “We’ve gained over 46,000 jobs since last December and we continue to see employers posting job ads.”

Alabama’s job growth rate for December came in at 2.2 percent, which surpasses the national job growth rate of 1.4 percent.

Month-to-month, employment gains were seen in the trade, transportation and utilities sector, which added over 4,000 jobs, the construction sector, which added over 700 jobs, ad the professional business services sector, which added over 200 jobs.