November 19, 2021

MONTGOMERY – Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted October unemployment rate is 3.1%, unchanged from September, and well below October 2020’s rate of 4.7%.  October’s rate represents 67,829 unemployed persons, compared to 68,576 in September and 107,301 in October 2020. This is the lowest number of unemployed persons recorded in 2021.

“October’s unemployment rate held steady this month, despite ongoing pandemic related hiring struggles, and we actually dropped to the lowest number of unemployed people so far this year,” said Washington. “The labor force showed some positive growth this month, which is definitely welcome news as we begin to shift into the holiday hiring season. For more than a year, Alabama has proven that we will return to our pre-pandemic economic successes.”

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 63,300, rising to 2,070,500, a new yearly high, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+22,500), the manufacturing sector (+10,100), and the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+9,500), among others.

Wage and salary employment increased in October by 28,700.  Monthly gains were seen in the professional and business services sector (+6,400), the leisure and hospitality sector (+5,600), and the education and health services sector (+4,700), among others.

“The continued growth of wage and salary employment tells us that businesses in Alabama are hiring, and hiring steadily,” continued Washington. “In October, our economy was supporting more jobs than at any other time in 2021.  In fact, we’re within the 30,000-job range of breaking the all-time record high jobs count.  As hiring increases even more for the holidays, I’m hopeful we’ll soon be announcing that we’ve broken that record yet again.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby and Cullman Counties at 1.7%, Marshall and Blount Counties at 1.8%, and Limestone, Franklin, Cleburne, and Cherokee Counties at 1.9%.  Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 9.7%, Lowndes County at 7.8%, and Perry County at 7.1%.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Homewood at 1.5%, Vestavia Hills, Hoover, Alabaster, and Athens at 1.7%, and Madison at 1.8%.  Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 7.9%, Prichard at 6.5%, and Anniston at 5.8%.


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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.