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Alabama jobless rate dips to 3.9 percent

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s unemployment rate is down slightly.

The state Department of Labor says December’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted jobless rate is 3.9 percent. That’s a decrease from the November rate of 4 percent but slightly above the rate from a year before of 3.8 percent.

”Exciting news – Alabama has broken two new Alabama Department of Labor records!” tweeted Governor Kay Ivey on Friday.

The state says Alabama experienced job growth of 2.2 percent during 2018, the largest-ever increase over a year. Total private average weekly earnings were $857.77 for the month, the highest average weekly earnings ever.

“We are ending 2018 with great economic news all around,” said Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. “I’m happy to say that we more than exceeded their predictions.”

The number represents an increase of 44,300 jobs statewide, with the largest number of new positions coming in the professional and business services sector.

Shelby County in metro Birmingham has the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 2.5 percent, followed by Cullman County at 2.9 percent.

Wilcox County in rural west Alabama was the highest jobless rate at 8.7 percent, followed by Clarke County at 7.1 percent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

American economy strong heading into midterm elections

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