For Immediate Release: November 15, 2019
Alabama Reaches Brand New Record Low Unemployment Rate of 2.8%
Wage and Salary Employment Tops 2.1 Million; Job Growth Surpasses National Growth Again
MONTGOMERY – Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today that Alabama reached a new record low unemployment rate in October. Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted October unemployment rate is 2.8%, down from September’s rate of 3.0%, and well below October 2018’s rate of 3.8%.
“More than 80,000 Alabamians are working today than last year, and 20,000 fewer people are counted as unemployed. Our economy is supporting over 2.1 million jobs, more than ever before,” said Governor Kay Ivey. “Those are tremendous numbers, and we are extremely proud of them. We continue to show the rest of the country that Alabama is indeed open for business! Employers have confidence in our economy and jobseekers who are joining the workforce are finding employment. Just yesterday, we celebrated Hyundai Motor Manufacturing of Alabama’s expansion which will add 200 new employees. This adds to the steady announcements we are making every month, and we will continue working hard to bring those jobs home, so that every Alabamian who wants a job, will have one!”
“Alabama has never experienced an unemployment rate in the two percent range,” said Secretary Washington. “While we have been breaking unemployment records all year, I have to say that this is one metric we really weren’t sure we’d ever surpass, but we have!”
October’s rate represents 2,200,681 employed persons, a new record high, compared to 2,194,109 in September and 2,120,546 in October 2018. This amounts to an over-the-year increase of 80,135. A new record low of 63,333 unemployed persons were counted, compared to 66,883 in September and 83,400 in October 2018, amounting to an over-the-year decrease of 20,067.
The number of people in the civilian labor force increased to 2,264,014, also a new record high, representing an over-the-year increase of 60,068.
“For the ninth month in a row, Alabama has met or surpassed national job growth,” continued Secretary Washington. “In October, manufacturing employment is at its highest level in more than a decade and record high employment was recorded in the professional and business services sector.”
Wage and salary employment measured 2,101,800 in October, a new record high, representing over-the-year job growth of 2.0%, compared to the nation’s over-the-year job of growth of 1.4%.
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 41,900, with gains in the professional and business services sector (+13,300), the leisure and hospitality sector (+9,100), and the government sector (+4,000), among others.
Wage and salary employment increased in October by 7,900. Monthly gains were seen in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+3,100), the professional and business services sector (+3,000), and the government sector (+2,600), among others.
Manufacturing employment measured 271,600, which is its highest level since November 2008, when it measured 273,600. Professional and business services employment measured 259,700, a record high.
“Additionally, wages continue to show improvement, with total private average weekly earnings rising by $26.49 over the year, and construction wages reached a new record high,” said Secretary Washington.
Total private average weekly earnings were $862.75 in October, up from $836.26 a year ago. Average weekly wages in the construction industry rose to a new record high of $1,060.01.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 1.8%, Marshall County at 2.0%, and Blount, Crenshaw, Cullman, Lee, Limestone, Madison, Morgan, and Tuscaloosa Counties at 2.1%. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 6.3%, Greene County at 4.8%, and Clarke County at 4.7%.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 1.5%, Alabaster, Homewood, and Northport at 1.6%, and Hoover and Madison at 1.8%. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 5.2%, Prichard at 5.1%, and Bessemer at 3.7%.
Members of the media seeking more information should contact Communications Director Tara Hutchison at (334) 309-9014.
“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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