(May 17, 2019)
MONTGOMERY – For the fourth month in a row, more people are working in Alabama than ever before. In April, preliminary estimates account for 2,139,379 people working, up by 32,335 from the same time a year ago, and up 6,739 from March.
The number of jobs supported by the economy also reached another record high, measuring 2,075,500 in April, representing an increase of 35,600 from the same time a year ago, and an increase of 10,800 from March.
“Employment has once again reached record levels,” said Secretary of Labor Fitzgerald Washington. “Our economy is supporting more jobs than ever before and more people are in the labor force than ever before. Those that are entering the labor force are finding work. The jobs are out there, and we’re working harder than even before to make sure that everyone who wants a job, has one.”
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased by 35,600, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+7,300), the construction sector (+6,100), and the professional and business services sector (+5,700), among others.
Wage and salary employment grew in April by 10,800. Monthly gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector (+4,300), the construction sector (+2,300), and the professional and business services sector (+1,700), among others.
“Average weekly earnings are also up, both over-the-month and over-the-year,” continued Washington. “Yearly increases in some of our high-wage industry sectors are showing employment growth, in some cases of more than 10%. This is great news for Alabamians who are looking for high-wage, high-skill jobs.”
Sectors with over-the-year employment growth of more than 10% include: Construction of Buildings (11.92%), Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction (10.73%), and Aerospace Products and Parts Manufacturing (10.00%).
Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 3.8%, up slightly from March’s record low rate of 3.7%, and below April 2018’s rate of 4.1%. April’s rate represents 83,565 unemployed persons, compared to 82,319 in March and 89,509 in April 2018.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 2.4%, Marshall County at 2.8%, and Tuscaloosa, Morgan, Madison, Lee, Elmore, and Blount Counties at 2.9%. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 7.0%, Greene and Lowndes Counties at 6.5%, and Clarke County at 6.0%.
Sixty-six of Alabama’s 67 counties saw their unemployment rates drop or remain the same over the month. Greene County was the only county to show an increase, rising to 6.5% from 5.9% in April 2019.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Homewood at 2.2%, Alabaster, Hoover, Northport, and Vestavia Hills at 2.4%, and Madison at 2.7%. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 7.2%, Prichard at 5.8%, and Anniston at 5.1%.
“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.