By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News
Online job postings from Alabama employers rose 17.3% through October from a year earlier, according to analysis by the Alabama Department of Labor.
In October, there were over 109,300 ads online. Meanwhile, the October state unemployment rate of 2.7% represents 61,760 potential workers looking for work.
Registered nurses and retail workers continued to be among the most sought-after employees in October, along with retail supervisors, customer service representatives and software developers. A total of 16,126 ads were placed for these jobs in October.
Huntsville Hospital and UAB Health System were the employers with the most online ads in October with 1,487 and 1,237, respectively.
Hospitals across the state need nurses and other healthcare professionals, Danne Howard, deputy director of the Alabama Hospital Association, told Alabama Daily News.
“Almost all hospitals are understaffed and the need for nurses is still very high,” Howard said.
In addition to registered nurses, hospitals lack licensed practical nurses and nutrition, laboratory and pharmacy staff.
“You name it, we need it,” Howard said.
Job data comes from the state’s free online jobs database, AlabamaWorks.alabama.gov, and traditional job boards and social media posts.
Thirty-two percent of the ads were for jobs with salaries of $35,000 or less. At the high end, 26% were in jobs with salaries of $75,000 or more.
Retail giants Walmart and Lowe’s were also on the list of top job seekers in October.
Alabama Retail Association spokeswoman Nancy Dennis said even at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, some retailers were looking for employees. And since then, small and large stores have been looking for thousands of workers every month.
“We’re hiring, we’re hiring all the time,” Dennis said. “Even the smallest retailers and restaurants…we’re hiring at all levels.”
And now they pay more.
The average hourly wage for retail clerks is $13.83 and that of experienced retail clerks is $16.09, according to Dennis.
“We’re hiring in retail at all levels and especially now they’re hiring seasonal workers,” Dennis said. These vacation rentals can lead to permanent employment.
There are now nearly two jobs open for every job seeker in Alabama, prompting state leaders to look for ways to bring back those who have left the workforce.
“Alabamians who are not in the labor force are not intentionally avoiding work,” Tim McCartney, president of the Alabama Workforce Council, wrote in September. “Many people face benefit cliffs when entering the workforce, which occur when means-tested benefits decline faster than an individual can make up for their loss through gainful employment.
“Providing access to education and training, coupled with social services, is a method to meet the complex needs of Alabamians who face barriers to entering the workforce.”