Birmingham job numbers emphasize participation, retention and attraction

Birmingham regional employment reached 549,000 in July 2019, up 2.1 percent year-over-year – the highest year-over-year job growth the Birmingham region has experienced since April 2012, when numbers jumped 2.2 percent and reached 508,100. This recent surge in jobs ranks Birmingham eighth among its peer metros.

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the region’s workforce is growing slightly faster than employment, climbing to over 561,580 workers in July 2019, up 2.5 percent year-over-year and ranking Birmingham sixth among peer metros. Since March, the region has experienced year-over-year labor force growth at or above 2 percent, levels of labor force growth not seen by the Birmingham region since it began recovering from the recession in 2010.

Additionally, Birmingham’s unemployment rate is at 2.7 percent, ranking the region second among peer metros and preceded only by Huntsville at 2.6 percent.

“Birmingham’s unemployment numbers are positive for the participating workforce,” said Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA) Interim President and CEO Fred McCallum. “However, this low unemployment rate indicates a tightening labor market, emphasizing the importance of increased labor force participation and talent retention and attraction efforts.”

The BBA is actively working towards talent retention and attraction for the region, offering programs like Magic City Summer, a series of free social events that connect summer interns to Birmingham’s culture, communities and influencers, and OnBoard Birmingham, a five-month leadership development program for young professionals that are either new or returning to the region, which is currently accepting applicants.

By year-end, the BBA will have unveiled a new digital talent attraction initiative to be used by local employers and job seekers. Implementation of the regional workforce plan, Building (it) Together, which BBA is co-leading with Central Six AlabamaWorks!, will also be in full swing.

“When new employees build an affinity for the Birmingham region, it improves an employer’s chances of retaining its talent,” McCallum said. “We at the BBA are here to do all we can to help in that effort.”