October 22, 2021

MONTGOMERY – Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted September unemployment rate is 3.1%, unchanged from August, and well below September 2020’s rate of 6.7%.  September’s rate represents 68,544 unemployed persons, compared to 69,014 in August and 147,334 in September 2020. This represents an over-the-year decrease of 78,790.

“Our unemployment numbers continued to hold steady this month, even while our state and our nation grapple with an ever-changing labor environment.  Alabama is working hard to ensure that all Alabamians who want a job have access to one, and that the state is doing all it can to help our employers find great employees and help their businesses thrive,” said Washington. “Nearly 74,000 more people are working now than last year.  Nearly 79,000 fewer people are counted as unemployed.  We have made remarkable progress as we continue our economic recovery.”

“This month, we not only saw our highest jobs count of 2021, but we set a new record post-pandemic high for the number of jobs our economy is supporting.  Businesses have gained more than 63,000 jobs over the year, and some of the hardest hit industries, including the leisure and hospitality industry, continue to lead the state in over-the-year growth and registering significantly higher wages.”

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 63,100, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+20,400), the professional and business services sector (+10,600), and the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+10,200), among others.

Wage and salary employment grew in September by 17,600.  Monthly gains were seen in the government sector (+7,600), the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+4,500), and the professional and business services sector (+3,200), among others.

Average weekly earnings measured $981.73 in September, representing an over-the-year increase of $56.67.  Leisure and hospitality earnings increased by $32.52 over the year.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 1.8%, Cullman County at 2.0%, and Marshall, Limestone, and Blount Counties at 2.1%.  Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 9.8%, Lowndes County at 7.8%, and Perry County at 7.5%.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Homewood and Vestavia Hills at 1.5%, Madison and Alabaster at 1.8%, and Athens and Hoover at 1.9%.  Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 8.7%, Prichard at 6.9%, and Anniston at 6.1%.


Members of the media seeking more information should contact Communications Director Tara Hutchison.

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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.