MONTGOMERY – Record numbers of people are in the labor force and working, along with a record high job count, and a record low unemployment rate, according to May 2019 economic data.
“Since day one, my Administration has sought the best ways to make our state business-friendly for small businesses and attractive to world-class industry. It is certainly paying off because in May, each of Alabama’s 67 counties saw their unemployment rates drop,” Governor Ivey said. “Alabama is breaking record after record! I am proud of the footing we are making; however, we will not tire our efforts. It remains our goal to ensure every Alabamian who wants a job can get a job.”
“What great news we have to share this month,” said Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. “We’ve been consistently posting positive economic news, and this month is more of the same. More people are working, employers are hiring, and we’ve once again dropped to a record low unemployment rate. The job market is great in Alabama!”
Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted May unemployment rate is 3.7%, down from April’s rate of 3.8%, and well below May 2018’s rate of 4.1%. May’s rate ties with March and February 2019’s rates for the lowest unemployment rate in Alabama history.
The number of people counted as employed in May rose to 2,150,481, another record high. The count represents a yearly increase of 40,720 people.
“Once again, Alabama’s job growth has surpassed the nation’s,” continued Washington. “Our economy is supporting more jobs than ever before, and Alabama’s employers are continuing to hire. It’s our hashtag, but it’s true: We Have Jobs!”
Over-the-year job growth (May 2018-May 2019, not seasonally adjusted) in Alabama measured 1.9%, while job growth in the U.S. over the same time period measured 1.5%.
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 38,800, with gains in the professional and business services sector (+8,900), the leisure and hospitality sector (+7,300), and the construction sector (+6,700), among others.
Wage and salary employment also increased over the month, growing by 7,100. Monthly gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector (+2,600), the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+2,000), and the government sector (+1,000), among others.
Additionally, the civilian labor force increased to 2,233,045 in May, representing its highest level ever. The civilian labor force represents the number of people, aged 16 and over, who are either working or looking for work, excluding the military and those in institutions.
All 67 counties experienced both over-the-month and over-the-year unemployment rate decreases.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 2.1%, Marshall County at 2.3%, and Morgan and Elmore Counties at 2.4%. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 6.6%, Greene County at 5.7%, and Lowndes County at 5.6%.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 1.8%, Homewood at 1.9%, and Alabaster and Hoover at 2.1%. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 6.2%, Prichard at 5.4%, and Anniston at 4.1%.
“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.