(AL.com) — 2018 was a record year for job growth in Alabama, with the state posting an all-time percentage growth of 2.2 percent over the previous year, an increase of 44,300 jobs.
That percentage outpaces the national job growth rate of 1.8.
In addition, Alabama’s employment numbers posted a record high for the fourth straight month, with 2,072,600 employed, the Alabama Department of Labor announced. And in December 2018, Alabamians recorded the highest average weekly earnings ever at $857.77.
Alabama Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington called the job growth numbers “extraordinary" as economic predictions had the state gaining only 27,000 jobs in 2018.
“I’m happy to say that we more than exceeded their predictions," he said.
The biggest gains in 2018 were in the professional and business services sector, with more than 12,600 jobs added, followed by manufacturing with 11,300. Government added more than 5,000 jobs.
Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December was 3.9 percent, down from November’s rate of 4 percent, but slightly ahead of the 3.8 percent the state recorded a year before. Shelby County had the lowest unemployment rate, with 2.5 percent, while Wilcox County had the highest with 8.7 percent.