(March 26, 2021)

MONTGOMERY – Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted February 2021 unemployment rate is 4.0%, down from January’s rate of 4.3%, yet above February 2020’s rate of 2.6%. February’s rate represents 91,065 unemployed persons, compared to 97,725 in January and 58,639 in February 2020.

“The unemployment rate continues to drop and is getting closer to the lows we enjoyed pre-pandemic. While this is good news, the number of unemployed people is still higher than last year. Employment assistance is the key to helping reduce this number and the Alabama Career Center System can help. There are 52 locations around the state that can help the unemployed and the underemployed.”

Wage and salary employment increased in February by 14,500. The biggest monthly gains were seen in leisure and hospitality (+4,600), professional and business services (+3,300); and government (+3,000), among others.

Over the year, wage and salary employment decreased by 65,500 with the biggest losses in leisure and hospitality (-17,400), education and health services (-15,700), and government (-9,500), among others. Annual gains were seen in trade, transportation, and utilities.

“As COVID cases go down and vaccinations increase, we hope to see improvements in all industries. In addition, as travel picks up and thoughts turn to vacations, the leisure and hospitality industry should see their numbers looking even better.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 2.1%, Blount and Cullman Counties at 2.2%, and Franklin and Limestone Counties at 2.3%.  Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 11.7%, Lowndes County at 11.6%, Perry County at 9.0%, and Dallas County at 8.2%.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Alabaster at 1.8%, Homewood at 1.9%, and Madison and Vestavia both at 2.0%.  Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Prichard at 11.1%, Selma at 10.3%, and Bessemer at 7.3%.


Members of the media needing more information should contact Communications Director Tara Hutchison or Public Information Officer Kelly Betts.

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 “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.