MONTGOMERY – (May 21, 2021) Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted April unemployment rate is 3.6%, down from March’s rate of 3.8%, and well below April 2020’s rate of 13.2%.
“Alabama continues to see a decline in unemployment, as vaccines roll out and businesses expand hiring,” said Governor Kay Ivey. “Yet again, we’ve reached a new post-pandemic low unemployment rate as we edge closer and closer to our previous pre-pandemic record low. Alabama is open for business and we’re ready to get everyone back to work!”
“The number of people unemployed is the lowest we’ve seen so far in 2021. There are more open jobs than there are unemployed people. When it comes to businesses adding jobs, our over-the-year job growth is the highest it’s been in over 21 years,” said Washington.
April’s rate represents 79,332 unemployed persons, a post-pandemic record low, compared to 84,716 in March and 288,253 in April 2020. In April, ADOL’s Help Wanted Online (HWOL) data, which measures online job openings, registered 84,986 job listings statewide.
The number of people counted as employed increased 253,632 over the year, to 2,152,651.
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 170,900, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+57,500), the manufacturing sector (+33,300), and the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+27,700), among others. This represents an over-the-year job growth rate of 9.3%, the highest since 2000.
“Wage growth is astounding in Alabama,” continued Washington. “We hit record highs in both hourly and weekly wages for all sectors, and the leisure and hospitality sector, which has been clamoring for workers, also hit record highs. Employers in Alabama are responding to labor shortages by raising wages, as to be expected.”
Total private average weekly earnings rose to $968.19 in April, up $33.09 over the month, and $67.81 over the year. Leisure and hospitality weekly earnings rose to $384.01 in April, up $23.17 over the month, and $54.58 over the year. Hourly, total private earnings rose to $27.35, up $0.86 over the month, and $0.79 over the year. Hourly, leisure and hospitality earnings rose to $14.17, up $0.45 over the month, and $0.94 over the year. All wages quoted above represent historical highs.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 1.9%, Marshall, Limestone, and DeKalb Counties at 2.0%, and Franklin, Cullman, and Cherokee Counties at 2.1%. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 8.8%, Lowndes County at 8.1%, and Perry County at 6.8%.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Alabaster at 1.7%, Athens at 2.0%, and Homewood at 2.1%. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 7.3%, Prichard at 5.9%, and Bessemer at 4.8%.
The unemployment rate is not calculated based on the number of people who are receiving unemployment compensation benefits. It is calculated on the number of people in the workforce and the number of people who are working or not working. For more information on how the government calculates the unemployment rate, click HERE.
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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.