For Immediate Release: March 16, 2020
Alabama’s Unemployment Rate Remains at Record Low
MONTGOMERY – Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted January 2020 unemployment rate remains at a record low 2.7%, unchanged from December 2019, and well below January 2019’s rate of 3.6%.
“We are pleased to be able to maintain last year’s record low unemployment rate in Alabama,” said Governor Kay Ivey. “We will continue to focus efforts on job creation and workforce development, and remain hopeful that the economic good news will continue into the remainder of 2020.”
January’s numbers represent an over-the-year increase in employment of 27,893, with the monthly total registering 2,186,364. The number of people counted as unemployed measured 61,114, a new record low, and represents an over-the-year drop of 18,346.
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 19,200, with gains in the government sector (+6,900), the education and health services sector (+4,300), and the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+3,400), among others.
“Two big industries experienced significant over-the-year employment growth, with building construction experiencing an increase of nearly 13%, and motor vehicle manufacturing saw growth of nearly 6%,” said Washington.
Building construction employment increased 12.56% over the year, measuring 22,400 in January. Motor vehicle manufacturing employment increased 5.84% over the year, measuring 14,500 in January.
“Wages have also seen growth from this period last year,” Washington continued. “Alabama workers saw their average weekly earnings grow by $41.74.”
Average weekly earnings measured $872.01, up from $830.27 in January 2019.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 2.4%, Marshall and Madison Counties at 2.7%, and Tuscaloosa, Morgan, Limestone, and Cullman Counties at 2.8%. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 9.0%, Clarke County at 6.2%, and Greene County at 5.9%.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 2.0%, Homewood at 2.1%, and Hoover at 2.2%. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Prichard at 6.2%, Selma at 6.1%, and Gadsden at 5.1%.
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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