MONTGOMERY – Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted October unemployment rate is 5.8%, down from September’s revised rate of 6.7%, and above October 2019’s rate of 2.7%.  October’s rate represents 130,329 unemployed persons, compared to 153,338 in September and 61,210 in October 2019.

“We’re glad to see nearly a drop of almost an entire percentage point in our unemployment rate this month,” said Washington.  “We will continue to see fluctuations in these economic indicators as pandemic concerns remain, but this month showed growth in both the number of jobs we are supporting and the number of people who are working.”

The number of people counted as employed in October was 2,121,505, up from 2,119,297 in September, but down from the 2,186,771 measured in October 2019.

Wage and salary employment increased in October by 25,500.  Monthly gains were seen in the professional and business services sector (+9,300), the construction sector (+5,300), and the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+3,400), among others.  Over the year, wage and salary employment decreased 51,500, with losses in the leisure and hospitality sector (-27,300), the education and health services sector (-17,000), and the government sector (-8,200), among others.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Franklin and Cullman Counties at 3.2%, Shelby, Randolph, Marshall, and Blount Counties at 3.3%, and Dekalb and Cherokee Counties at 3.4%.  Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Lowndes and Wilcox Counties at 14.9%, Perry County at 10.5%, and Dallas County at 10.4%.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Homewood and Vestavia Hills at 2.7%, Madison at 3.0%, and Alabaster and Hoover at 3.2%.  Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Prichard at 15.2%, Selma at 12.7%, and Bessemer at 10.8%.

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.