State’s unemployment rate falls to 5.6%; Cullman Co. 2nd lowest in state at 3.6%

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MONTGOMERY, Ala.  – Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced Friday that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted August unemployment rate is 5.6%, down from July’s rate of 7.9%, and above August 2019’s rate of 2.8%. August’s rate represents 127,186 unemployed persons, compared to 176,556 in July and 62,149 in August 2019.

Cullman County’s rate is 3.6%, down from July’s rate of 5.1% and above August 2019’s rate of 2.6%.

“The drop in the unemployment rate is certainly good news for Alabama,” said Gov. Kay Ivey. “We have worked extremely hard to open Alabama’s businesses safely, and to put our hard-working families back to work.  We know that challenges remain, and we will endeavor to meet them so that we can get back to our previous, pre-pandemic record setting employment numbers.”

“August showed a larger drop in the unemployment rate than we’ve seen for a few months,” said Washington. “We are continuing to see our initial claims drop, staying under 10,000 for the past several weeks. We regained another 22,200 jobs this month but are still down more than 86,000 from this time last year. One highlight is that our civilian labor force, or the number of people who are working or actively looking for work, is at its highest level ever! This means that people are confident that jobs are there for them to find.”

Several industries saw their average weekly earnings reach record high levels, including:

  • Total Private: $941.76, up $91.03 over the year
  • Goods Producing: $1099.76, up $48.91 over the year
    • Construction: $1,067.90, up $72.79 over the year
    • Manufacturing: $1,128.13, up $72.26 over the year
  • Private Service Providing: $895.57, up $102.32 over the year

 

Wage and salary employment grew in August by 22,200.  Monthly gains were seen in the government sector (+9,600), the professional and business services sector (+7,100), and the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+5,500), among others.  Over the year, wage and salary employment decreased by 86,800, with losses in the leisure and hospitality sector (-34,900), the education and health services sector (-19,800), and the professional and business services sector (-13,300), among others.

All counties and metro areas saw a decrease in unemployment rates over the month.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Clay County at 3.4%, Randolph, Franklin, Marshall, Cullman, Cleburne and Cherokee Counties at 3.6% and Blount County at 3.7%.  Counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox County at 14.8%, Lowndes County at 13.8% and Greene County at 10.9%.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are Vestavia Hills at 3.0%, Homewood at 3.2% and Madison at 3.3%.  Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are Prichard at 15.4%, Selma at 12.9% and Bessemer at 10.7%.

For more information regarding how the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the unemployment rate, please visit www.bls.gov/bls/bls-covid-19-questions-and-answers.htm.