Many all-time highs reached for employment in December in Alabama

Published 9:16 am Friday, January 26, 2024

By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Multiple all-time highs for employment in the State of Alabama were achieved in December 2023 after statistics from the Alabama Department of Labor were released on Jan. 19.

The number of people counted as employed in the state increased by 40,194 in 2023 to a record high of 2,264,098. The civilian labor force in 2023 went up by 39,662, which increased it to a new record high of 2,323,552 as well.

Wage and salary employment increased by 38,100 in the state in 2023 to a record high of 2,184,500. The sectors gaining the most employees were private education and health services up 10,700 persons, government up 6,900 persons, and the trade, transportation and utilities sector up 4,600 persons.

The total private average weekly wage increased in December by $32.08 over the year to a new record high of $1,035.00. Average weekly wages in both the construction and trade, transportation, and utilities sectors reached new record highs as well.

All of the new all-time highs helped contribute to the state’s labor force participation rate for December increasing to 57.2%

“As we continue to see growth in our labor force participation rate, with our prime-age worker participation rate increasing by nearly a half of a percentage point over the year, we will continue our efforts to reach more of underutilized workforce populations,” Fitzgerald Washington, Alabama Department of Labor Secretary, said in a press release. “We know that the labor force participation rate for the state is tied to its demographic population, so we must work together to encourage those who traditionally may not be heavily recruited by employers to work with us to get them in the workforce.”

Overall, in December 2023, Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.6%, which is up from November’s rate of 2.4%. The December 2023 rate is equal to the 2022 rate of 2.6%, and the rate represents 59,454 unemployed persons, compared to 55,462 in November 2023 and 59,986 in December 2022.

Chilton County ranks among the counties with the lowest unemployment rates with the third-lowest at 2.2%, joined by Madison, Limestone, Elmore and Autauga counties. Chilton County’s rate went up from 2.1% in November 2023, and is up from 1.8% in December 2022. The county’s civilian labor force decreased from November to December 2023, however, at 20,696 in December 2023, it is higher than December 2022 at 20,212 despite the higher unemployment rate. Chilton had more employed persons in the county at 20,241 in December 2023 compared to 19,851 in December 2022 despite the higher unemployment rate as well. There were 455 unemployed persons in the county in December 2023, 444 in November 2023 and 361 in December 2022.

Nearby Shelby County has the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 1.9%, followed by Morgan, Marshall and Cullman counties at 2.1%. Counties with the highest unemployment rates in the state are Wilcox County at 9.3%, the highest in the state, followed by Greene County at 6.3% and Dallas County at 5.8%.

The Alabama Department of Labor announced in the press release on Jan. 19 that January 2024 unemployment information and rates will not be released until March 11.