MONTGOMERY – Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted July unemployment rate is 7.9%, up from June’s rate of 7.6%, and above July 2019’s rate of 2.8%.  July’s rate represents 176,637 unemployed persons, compared to 166,668 in June and 63,414 in July 2019.

“Following several months of unemployment rate decreases, this month we saw a slight increase in our unemployment rate,” said Washington. “While we can all agree that the economy is definitely recovering, we will continue to have fluctuations as we continue to learn how to navigate in this new pandemic-related reality.”

Wage and salary employment increased in July by 10,900.  Monthly gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector (+5,800), the manufacturing sector (+4,300), and the professional and business services sector (+4,200), among others.  Over the year, wage and salary employment has decreased by 101,800, with losses in the leisure and hospitality sector (-33,700), the professional and business services sector (-19,400), and the education and health services sector (-19,000), among others.

“Nearly 200,000 jobs were lost from March to April, when we experienced the greatest shutdowns and layoffs,” continued Washington. “Since then, we’ve recovered approximately half of those jobs.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Clay County at 4.8%, Cullman County at 5.1%, and Shelby, Randolph, and Marshall Counties at 5.3%.  Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 19.0%, Lowndes County at 18.7%, and Dallas County at 14.5%.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 4.3%, Madison at 4.6%, and Homewood at 4.7%.  Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Prichard at 21.2%, Selma at 17.5%, and Bessemer and Mobile at 14.0%.

For more information regarding how the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the unemployment rate, please visit

NOTE: Data users must be cautious about trying to compare or reconcile the UI claims data with the official unemployment figures gathered through the household survey. The unemployment data derived from the household survey in no way depend upon the eligibility for or receipt of UI benefits. In some cases, UI claims data exclude people who would be identified as unemployed in the household survey, like new entrants to the labor force with no prior work experience. In other cases, UI data may include individuals who do not meet the CPS definition of unemployment. The recent Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization and Access Act of 2020, signed on March 27, 2020, allowed states to temporarily modify or suspend the “actively seeking work” requirement to respond to the spread of COVID-19.


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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.