For Immediate Release: March 22, 2019
Alabama Reaches New Record Low Unemployment Rate; Continues Ninth Consecutive Month of Employment Highs
MONTGOMERY – Alabama reached a new record low unemployment rate in February 2019, announced Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted February unemployment rate is 3.7%, down from January’s rate of 3.8%, and below February 2018’s rate of 4.0%.
“Our unemployment rate, which is clocking in at a new record low of 3.7%, is proof that Alabama is open for business. We’ve shattered employment records for nine months in a row now. People are continuing to join the labor force, with the expectation that they will get a job – and they’re getting jobs,” said Washington.
February’s rate represents 2,127,626 employed persons, compared to 2,123,650 last month and 2,100,195 in February 2018, representing yearly growth of 27,431. 82,304 were counted as unemployed, the second lowest number ever recorded, compared to 83,398 in January and 87,534 in February 2018.
“More than 27,000 Alabamians are working now than a year ago, and they’re bringing home more money in their paychecks, which is great news for our economy,” continued Washington.
Total private average weekly earnings rose to $839.59 in February, representing an over-the-year increase of $33.54.
Wage and salary employment increased over the year by 34,700, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+7,100), the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+6,300), and the professional and business services sector (+5,100), among others.
Wage and salary employment increased in February by 15,300, with monthly gains in the professional and business services sector (+5,400), the government sector (+4,000), and the education and health services sector (+3,200), among others.
Sixty-six of 67 counties experienced drops in their unemployment rate this month, and 64 of 67 counties saw equal or lower rates than in February 2018.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 2.9%, Marshall, Madison, Elmore, and Cullman Counties at 3.3%, and Tuscaloosa and Morgan Counties at 3.4%. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 9.8%, Clarke County at 7.6%, and Dallas County at 7.3%.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills, Northport, and Homewood at 2.7%, Alabaster at 2.8%, and Hoover and Madison at 2.9%. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 8.5%, Prichard at 6.8%, and Mobile at 5.4%.
Members of the media seeking more information should contact Communications Director Tara Hutchison at (334) 242-8616.
“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.
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