Alabama’s August Unemployment Rate Falls to 4.2%

MONTGOMERY – Governor Kay Ivey announced today that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted August unemployment rate is 4.2%, down from July’s rate of 4.5%, and well below August 2016’s rate of 5.9%.
“After hovering near the national unemployment rate for several months, Alabama’s rate has dropped below it for the first time in many years,” Governor Ivey said. “This is a milestone we’ve been working toward for some time. We announced this week that Autocar, LLC. is opening a new plant in Birmingham, bringing nearly 750 new jobs. As we continue to recruit new businesses to Alabama, hopefully, we’ll be able to maintain that achievement in the months to come.”
The comparable national unemployment rate is 4.4%, up slightly from July’s rate of 4.3%. The last time Alabama’s unemployment rate was below the national rate was in October 2013.
August’s rate represents 90,913 unemployed persons, compared to 96,158 in July and 128,413 in August 2016. The last time the number of unemployed was at or below 90,913 was in August 2007, when it measured 89,206.
2,057,109 were counted as employed, compared to 2,063,900 in July and 2,044,186 in August 2016.
“In August, we had the lowest number of unemployed in a decade,” Secretary of Labor Fitzgerald Washington said. “We continue to see increases in the number of jobs our economy is supporting, almost doubling economists’ projected job gains for the entire year within the first eight months.”
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 28,300, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+9,600), the professional and business services sector (+7,600), and the construction sector (+6,500), among others.
Wage and salary employment increased in August by 3,100.  Monthly gains were seen in the government sector (+3,100), the professional and business sector (+2,700), and the education and health services sector (+2,200), among others.
All counties, major cities, and metropolitan statistical areas experienced drops in their unemployment rates, both over the year and over the month.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 3.2%; Cullman County at 3.6%; and Elmore, Madison, and Marshall Counties at 3.7%. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 11.3%, Clarke County at 8.6% and Greene County at 7.8%.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 2.8%, Homewood at 2.9% and Alabaster at 3.0%. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 8.3%, Prichard at 8.0% and Bessemer at 5.6%.
August 2017 City Rates
August 2017 County Rates
August 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.