For several years, Alabama has operated an online job board, which lists advertisements for various industries across the state. Through the board, the Alabama Department of Labor’s Labor Market Information Division (LMI) sources candidates beyond those found via the state-operated job board. 

Data collected and analyzed by the LMI Division shows that as of February 2022, the yearly comparison of online job ads is up 48% from February 2021, at 93,424 postings. The monthly total of online job ads for February 2022 is up 11.1% with 30,252 new online ads. 

The five occupations with the most online job ads continue to be for registered nurses, retail salespersons, sales representatives, supervisors of retail salespersons and customer service representatives, with 15,783 ads placed for those occupations in February.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a drastic need for employees across industries. Although the majority of COVID restrictions have been lifted, there are still significant needs in the medical and service industries.

As of January, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate sat at 3.1%, unchanged from December 2021’s rate, and below January 2021’s rate of 4.0%. Only 69,141 persons qualified to receive unemployment benefits compared to 69,434 in December and 90,390 in January 2021.

“Alabama’s healthy economic environment is carrying on, with our unemployment rate holding steady yet again for a fourth consecutive month,” said Fitzgerald Washington, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Labor. “While holding steady may not seem like a positive thing to some, given the uncertainties that currently exist in our national economy, I’m proud to say that, so far, Alabama is maintaining positive employment trends.

“Our job growth has continued, with more than 33,000 jobs created since January of last year. Wages have shown yearly growth as well, with total private weekly earnings up $30.60. Other industries, such as leisure and hospitality and education and health services, have also seen remarkable yearly growth.”

He said that in 2021, Alabama's unemployment rate dropped to a yearly record low of 3.1%, only two-tenths of a percentage point away from the state's previous record low of 2.9% in Jun. 2019.  He said that is amazing when the national unemployment rate was 13.7% in Apr. 2020. He also pointed out that the all-time high of 298,920 unemployed in Apr. 2020 dropped to 81,599, a decrease of 217,321 people.  

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased by 33,500, with gains in the trade, transportation and utilities sector (+11,200), the leisure and hospitality sector (+10,100), and the construction sector (+4,500), among others.

“Partly due to circumstances arising from the pandemic, Alabama also saw major wage gains over the past year,” Washington said. “In August of 2021, our average weekly earnings rose to a brand-new record high of $988.89. That’s $138.16 a week HIGHER than in August 2019 – before we’d even heard of COVID-19. Throughout the year we saw various sectors reach and break wage records, including the construction sector, which saw wages go above $1,100 a week, and the manufacturing sector, which saw wages of more than $1,200 a week.  In traditionally lower-wage industries, such as leisure and hospitality, we saw over-the-year increases of nearly $50.  To see that kind of increase in such a short time frame is fairly remarkable.  It just doesn’t happen.”  

Brandon Moseley contributed to this article.

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