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Brand-New Record Low Unemployment Rate, Four Other Records Broken in August

September 20, 2019

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News Release
For Immediate Release: September 20, 2019
Brand-New Record Low Unemployment Rate, Four Other Records Broken in August
Alabama’s Annual Job Growth Beats or Matches Nation’s for Seventh Consecutive Month

MONTGOMERY –Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today that Alabama has yet again set a new record low unemployment rate. Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted August unemployment rate is 3.1%, down from July’s rate of 3.3%, and well below August 2018’s rate of 3.9%. August’s rate represents 2,184,511 employed persons, also a new record high, measuring 68,033 more than last year’s count, and 12,757 more than last month’s count.
“Not only can we be proud of the fact that Alabama is breaking record after record; but we can also be proud that more of our good men and women are gaining employment,” said Governor Kay Ivey. “Alabama has made significant progress regarding our economy. Not only are we putting people to work, but their earnings are increasing, and our industries are growing. Even with all this headway, we realize we must continue exhausting our efforts to make sure that all Alabamians who want a job have a job, and we won’t stop until we achieve that goal.”
“Along with this brand-new record low unemployment rate, Alabama continues to break other records as well,” said Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. “More people are working in Alabama than ever before, a record we’ve broken every single month this year. More than 68,000 Alabamians are working today that weren’t last year, and that’s great news. Fewer people are unemployed in Alabama than ever before, and our workforce is larger than it’s ever been, with consecutive growth for the past eight months.”
August’s rate represents 70,652 unemployed persons, a new record low, down from 75,101 in July and down from 86,212 in 2018.
The civilian labor force increased in August to a record high 2,255,163, up 8,308 from July’s count, and up 52,473 from August 2018.
“Additionally, our jobs count reached a record high for the fourth time this year, gaining more than 37,000 jobs over the year, representing a job growth percentage of 1.8%, which, yet again, surpassed the nation’s job growth – all while Alabamians are also seeing growth in their earnings,” continued Washington.
Alabama has matched or surpassed the national annual job growth rate for the past seven months.
Over the year, wage and salary employment grew by 37,300, with gains in the professional and business services sector (+9,900), the leisure and hospitality sector (+6,600), and the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+5,200), among others.
Wage and salary employment grew in August by 5,900. Monthly gains were seen in the government sector (+5,300), the professional and business services sector (+3,000), and the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+1,900), among others.
Average weekly earnings increased $27.05 since August 2018, and $8.97 since July.
All 67 counties saw their unemployment rates decrease over the year, and 66 of 67 counties saw their rates decrease or remain the same over the month.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 2.1%, Marshall and Madison Counties at 2.3%, and Morgan, Limestone, and Elmore Counties at 2.4%. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 6.9%, Clarke County at 5.9%, and Greene County at 5.8%.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 1.8%, Northport and Homewood at 1.9%, and Alabaster and Hoover at 2.0%. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 6.5%, Prichard at 5.5%, and Anniston at 4.1%.
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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.
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