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Alabama’s October Unemployment Rate Falls to Record Low 3.6%

November 17, 2017

Press Releases

MONTGOMERY – Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced today that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted October unemployment rate is 3.6%, down from September’s previous record-tying rate of 3.8%, and well below October 2016’s rate of 6.1%.

“We had great news last month, when we announced that Alabama’s unemployment rate had tied its lowest ever. Today, our news is even bigger! Alabama’s unemployment rate has dropped even more, registering a new record low!” said Governor Ivey. “What we are doing is working, and as a result, the people of Alabama are working.”

“Additionally, today’s numbers show that we currently have the fewest number of unemployed people in history, measuring some 77,000; but that means 77,000 Alabamians, men and women, are still without work. I will persist in my efforts to put every Alabamian who wants to work in a good paying job by recruiting high-wage, high-skill industries to Alabama.”

October’s rate represents 77,358 unemployed persons, the lowest number ever recorded, compared to 82,562 in September and 133,875 in October 2016. 2,079,576 people were counted as employed, compared to 2,069,094 in September and 2,046,861 in October 2016.

“As we continue to see our unemployment rate drop, Alabama’s businesses continue to hire and support real jobs in our economy,” said Fitzgerald Washington, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Labor. “Our wage and salary employment figures are currently at the third highest level since we began keeping records. There are nearly 30,000 more jobs today than there were in October of last year. Through job fairs and the services provided at our Career Centers located throughout the state, we are helping employers find the employees they are looking for.”

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 29,400, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+7,100), the professional and business services sector (+6,400), and the manufacturing sector (+6,100), among others.

Wage and salary employment increased in October by 6,500. Monthly gains were seen in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+3,300), the education and health services sector (+2,700), and the government sector (+2,200), among others.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 2.6%, Marshall, Madison, Lee, and Cullman Counties at 3.0%, and Tuscaloosa and Elmore Counties at 3.1%. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 8.9%, Clarke County at 6.6%, and Lowndes County at 6.4%.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Alabaster, Homewood and Vestavia Hills at 2.4%, Hoover at 2.6%, and Madison at 2.7%. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Prichard and Selma at 6.5%, Anniston at 4.9%, and Bessemer at 4.8%.

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October 2017 City Rates
October 2017 County Rates
October 2017 County Map

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.