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Employment and Jobs Count Hit Record High for Sixth Consecutive Month; 40,000+ More People Working Than a Year Ago

November 16, 2018

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News Release
For Immediate Release: November 16, 2018
Employment and Jobs Count Hit Record High for Sixth Consecutive Month; 40,000+ More People Working Than a Year Ago

MONTGOMERY – For the sixth month in a row, a record number of people are working in Alabama. In October, the number of people counted as employed measured 2,122,970, which tops last month’s record breaking number of 2,117,359, and is 40,377 more than October 2017’s count of 2,082,593. The number of people counted as unemployed dropped as well, measuring 89,754, down from September’s count of 90,818.
“More than 40,000 Alabamians now have jobs that didn’t last year,” said Secretary of Labor Fitzgerald Washington. “That means that they are contributing to our state’s economy and providing for their families. Our labor force continues to grow, reaching its highest level of 2018, and the vast majority of those are finding jobs, which tells us that people have confidence in our economy.”
The civilian labor force (CLF) increased to 2,212,724 in October, its highest level of 2018, representing a year-over-year increase of 48,254.
“Additionally, we broke the record for the number of jobs our economy is supporting – AGAIN – beating the previous record by more than 12,000 jobs. We’re beginning to see retail hiring pick up in preparation for the holidays, but over-the-year gains in high wage industries like manufacturing and construction are extremely encouraging, with yearly gains of 3.88% and 2.52%, respectively.”
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 34,500, with gains in the professional and business services sector (+12,500), the manufacturing sector (+10,200), and the construction sector (+2,200), among others.
Wage and salary employment increased in October by 12,200. Monthly gains were seen in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+5,000), the professional and business services sector (+2,200), and the government sector (+2,200), among others.
Average weekly private sector earnings were again up over-the-year, rising by $18.88 per week. Construction earnings reached their highest level in history, rising to $984.13 per week.
The preliminary, seasonally adjusted October unemployment rate is 4.1%, unchanged from September’s rate, and above October 2017’s rate of 3.8%.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 2.8%, Cullman County at 3.2%, and Marshall and Elmore Counties at 3.3%. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 8.8%, Clarke County at 7.1%, and Lowndes County at 6.8%.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills and Homewood at 2.6%, Alabaster at 2.7%, and Madison and Northport at 2.8%. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 7.2%, Prichard at 6.8%, and Anniston and Bessemer at 5.2%.
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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.