Alabama Department of Labor

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Alabama Breaks Employment Record for Fourth Consecutive Month

September 21, 2018

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News Release
For Immediate Release: September 21, 2018
Alabama Breaks Employment Record for Fourth Consecutive Month
Professional and Business Sector Employment at Record High

MONTGOMERY – Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced that more than 2.1 million people are working in Alabama, breaking the previous employment record for the fourth consecutive month.
“For four months in a row now, we’ve been breaking employment records,” Washington said. “Thirty-two thousand more Alabamians are working now than last year. We’ve also seen our labor force grow by 37,000, meaning more people have confidence in the economy and their ability to find a job – and the majority of those have found work, which is great news.”
2,112,274 Alabamians were counted as employed in August 2018, up from 2,105,577 in July, and up 32,101 from August 2017’s count of 2,080,173.
The civilian labor force, which is composed of people who are working or looking for work, increased over the year by 36,929, up to 2,203,485, compared to August 2017’s count of 2,166,556.
“Our jobs count continues to remain well above two million. The sectors that are experiencing the most yearly growth are sectors with traditionally high wages, like professional and business services, manufacturing, and construction,” Washington continued. “In fact, professional and business services employment, which includes high paying occupations like Financial Managers, Software Developers, and Engineers, is at a record high.”
Professional and Business Services employment currently measures 252,100, the highest level ever experienced.
Average hourly wages for selected occupations in this sector include: General and Operations Managers at $59.46/hr., Software Developers, Applications at $45.36/hr., and Database Administrators at $40.64/hr. Wages for other occupations can be found online at: by using the “Alabama Wage Lookup” tool.
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 23,300, with gains in the professional and business services sector (+9,500), the manufacturing sector (+8,200), and the construction sector (+2,300), among others.
Wage and salary employment increased in August by 9,600. Monthly gains were seen in the government sector (+5,900), the professional and business services sector (+5,700), and the construction sector (+1,600), among others.
Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted August unemployment rate is 4.1%, unchanged from July’s rate, and slightly above August 2017’s rate of 4.0%. August’s rate represents 91,211 unemployed persons, compared to 90,928 in July and 86,383 in August 2017.
In August, 64 of 67 counties saw their unemployment rates decrease or remain unchanged, 25 of 26 major cities, and all metros saw either a decrease or no change in their rates from July to August.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 3.1%, Cullman County at 3.4%, and Marshall County at 3.5%. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 10.0%, Clarke County at 8.1%, and Lowndes County at 7.9%.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 2.8%, Homewood, Hoover, and Alabaster at 3.0%, and Madison at 3.2%. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 8.2%, Prichard at 7.3%, and Bessemer at 5.5%.
Members of the media seeking more information should contact Communications Director Tara Hutchison at (334) 242-8616.

“Seasonal adjustment” refers to BLS’s practice of anticipating certain trends in the labor force, such as hiring during the holidays or the surge in the labor force when students graduate in the spring, and removing their effects to the civilian labor force.
The Current Population (CPS), or the household survey, is conducted by the Census Bureau and identifies members of the work force and measures how many people are working or looking for work.
The establishment survey, which is conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, surveys employers to measure how many jobs are in the economy. This is also referred to as wage and salary employment.