State’s Nov. unemployment rate drops to 4.4%; Cullman County’s tied for lowest at 2.4%

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced Friday that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted November unemployment rate is 4.4%, down from October’s revised rate of 5.7%, and above November 2019’s rate of 2.7%.  November’s rate represents 100,537 unemployed persons, compared to 127,425 in October and 61,381 in November 2019.

Cullman County’s rate is the tied for the lowest in the state at 2.4%, down from October’s rate of 3.1% and just above November 2019’s rate of 2.1%.

“As we are nearing the end of a definitively turbulent year, it’s truly great news to see our unemployment rate drop below 5%,” said Washington.  “We’re not where we were prior to the pandemic, and it may take more time to get there, but we’re making progress. We’ve got more people working now than at any time since the pandemic started. We remain dedicated to helping those who were impacted by the pandemic by helping them find jobs or get the training they need to start new careers.”

The number of people counted as employed in November was 2,166,308, up from 2,119,599 in October, but down from the 2,186,809 measured in November 2019. This count represents the highest level of employment since March.

Wage and salary employment increased in November by 17,200 to 2,052,300, its highest level since April 2020.  Monthly gains were seen in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+8,700), the professional and business services sector (+2,500), and the manufacturing sector (+2,300), among others. 

Over the year, wage and salary employment decreased 40,800, with losses in the leisure and hospitality sector (-23,600), the education and health services sector (-18,700), and the government sector (-9,800), among others.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Cullman County at 2.4%, Shelby, Marshall and Franklin counties at 2.5%, and Randolph, Dekalb, Cleburne and Blount counties at 2.6%.  Counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox County at 10.9%, Lowndes County at 10.7% and Perry County at 8.0%.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are Homewood and Vestavia Hills at 2.0%, Alabaster and Madison at 2.3% and Hoover at 2.5%.  Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are Prichard at 11.7%, Selma at 9.4% and Bessemer at 7.6%.

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.

NOTE: Data users must be cautious about trying to compare or reconcile the UI claims data with the official unemployment figures gathered through the household survey. The unemployment data derived from the household survey in no way depend upon the eligibility for or receipt of UI benefits. In some cases, UI claims data exclude people who would be identified as unemployed in the household survey, like new entrants to the labor force with no prior work experience. In other cases, UI data may include individuals who do not meet the CPS definition of unemployment. The recent Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization and Access Act of 2020, signed on March 27, 2020, allowed states to temporarily modify or suspend the “actively seeking work” requirement to respond to the spread of COVID-19.