Truck Drivers and Nurses in High Demand as State Workforce Nears 2 Million for First Time in Almost 10 Years


The Alabama Department of Labor said truck drivers and nurses were the most sought-after employees in May, followed by retail salespersons, based on online help wanted ads.

The Labor Department’s Labor Market Division said the most online wanted ads in May were for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, registered nurses, and retail salespersons.

There were 41,462 online ads in May and 19,029 were new ads. Of the new ads placed online, 6,801 in May were for the three occupations.

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers earn an average wage of $20.15 per hour and registered nurses earn an average wage of $27.82 per hour. Retail salespersons earn an average of $12.62 per hour, the Labor Department said.

Business Council of Alabama President and CEO William Canary commented on the importance of truck transportation.

“It’s a vital American industry, vital for our America’s economy,” said Canary, a former president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations. “The percentage of all products delivered by truck is nearly 80 percent. So if you have it was delivered by a trucker.”

Canary said truckers enjoy camaraderie with their fellow truckers. “It’s a special bond, much like the bond that people who are in the military, law enforcement, and firefighters feel,” he said.

Help Wanted Online data are 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.

“More than half of our top advertised jobs have average hourly salaries of more than $20,” said Department of Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington. “These are good paying jobs and employers need qualified employees. We remain committed to assisting both jobseekers and employers in order put Alabamians back to work.”

Washington said the civilian labor force of people working or looking for work increased in May and for the year. He said 40,548 more people were working or looking for work in May 2016 than in May 2015. The number of people considered employed also increased over the month and the year, with 39,164 more people working this year than last.

“Our wage and salary employment continues to show marked improvement,” Washington said. “We’re less than 25,000 jobs away from reaching the 2 million mark, which has been among the highest number of jobs our economy has ever supported over the last 20 years.”

Alabama has not seen 2 million employed for nearly 10 years. The state had 2 million–plus employed from December 2006 to December 2007. The record employed was 2.03 million in December 2007, according to the Department of Labor.

The highest paying job listings were for industrial engineers – 584 in May 2016 compared with 660 in May 2015. The average hourly wage was $41.35.

Online job demand was highest in metro cities, led by Birmingham with 9,235 ads, Huntsville with 5,198 ads, and Montgomery with 3,285 ads. The top three employers posting ads in May were: Pizza Hut (1,124), St. Vincent’s Health System (676), and UAB Medicine (596).

Forty-six percent of all online ads are less than 30 days old, and another 33 percent of all ads are less than 90 days old, the department said.

“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