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Help wanted: retail, nursing jobs in demand

By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Amid record low unemployment, Alabama employers are still hiring.

According to a new report from the Alabama Department of Labor, the most in-demand occupations are retail salespersons, registered nurses and customer service representatives. Those account for the most posted online jobs, according to Help Wanted Online data.

Those occupations accounted for 6,560 ads placed in September and total ads are up 10.9% over the year – a sign that employers in the state continue to need qualified workers.

Retail salespersons earn a mean wage of $13.30 per hour, registered nurses earn a mean wage of $29.26 per hour, and customer service representatives earn a mean wage of $16.65 per hour.

The HWOL data is compiled from all online job postings in the state, including those posted on the state’s free online jobs database,, and other sources; such as traditional job boards, corporate boards, and social media sites.

Thirty-three percent of job ads have salaries in the $50-79,000 range; 23% have salaries of $80,000 and above; 23% have salaries in the $30-49,000 range; and 21% have salaries of $30,000 or under.

The top three employers posting ads in September were: UAB Medicine (878), Walmart (929), and McDonald’s (747). These were followed by Family Dollar, Lowe’s, Pizza Hut, CVS, Advance Auto Parts, Inc., Dollar Tree Stores, and Baptist Health System to round out the top 10 employers with the most online ads.

The educational services sector is the focus of this month’s in-depth analysis by the LMI division.

The top five occupations with the most online ads are: Educational, guidance, school, and vocational counselors, Education administrators, postsecondary, Health specialties teachers, postsecondary, Business teachers, postsecondary, and Secretaries and administrative assistants. Eighty percent of these jobs require a minimum of an associate’s degree.

“This sector has an average wage of $23.26 per hour, and 90% of these highlighted jobs in this industry pay more than $30,000 annually,” said Fitzgerald Washington, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Labor.  “These are high quality, high wage jobs.”

“We continue to see the importance of soft skills to employers,” continued Washington. “This is where our Career Centers come in. Alabama now has 50 Career Centers around the state that offer free services to jobseekers including job skill workshops, job searches, résumé preparation, and more.”

“We’d like to encourage anyone who needs a job, or wants a different job, to come into one of our Career Centers for assistance,” said Washington.  “Our trained staff can assist you in obtaining the career you want.”

A listing of Career Centers can be found at

Alabama has continued to see record low unemployment numbers this year, with the most recent report citing it at 3% for September which is one-tenth of a percent below the previous low set in August.

It was also a half-percent lower than the U.S. unemployment rate of 3.5% in September.

Alabama’s economy has also gained 55,900 jobs since January according to the Labor Department.

The state unemployment number represents about 67,000 unemployed people compared to 2.2 million with jobs. Average private earnings increased by nearly $12 over the month to $862.

Shelby County in metro Birmingham has the state’s lowest jobless rate at 1.9%, which Wilcox County in rural west Alabama is highest at 6.2%.

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