Alabama continues to set new jobs-related records and now boasts the largest over-the-year unemployment rate drop in the United States.
Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington on Friday announced that the Yellowhammer State has yet again set a new record low unemployment rate, along with four additional milestones.
The state’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted August unemployment rate was 3.1%, down from July’s then-historic rate of 3.3%, and well below August 2018’s rate of 3.9%.
August’s rate represented 2,184,511 employed persons, also a new record high, measuring 68,033 more than last year’s count and 12,757 more than last month’s count.
In a statement, Governor Kay Ivey said, “Not only can we be proud of the fact that Alabama is breaking record after record; but we can also be proud that more of our good men and women are gaining employment.”
The Yellowhammer State has now matched or surpassed the national annual job growth rate for the past seven months.
“Alabama has made significant progress regarding our economy,” Ivey added. “Not only are we putting people to work, but their earnings are increasing, and our industries are growing. Even with all this headway, we realize we must continue exhausting our efforts to make sure that all Alabamians who want a job have a job, and we won’t stop until we achieve that goal.”
August’s historic numbers came after Alabama broke four records the month previous and five in June.
“Along with this brand-new record low unemployment rate, Alabama continues to break other records as well,” said Washington.
“More people are working in Alabama than ever before, a record we’ve broken every single month this year,” he continued. “More than 68,000 Alabamians are working today that weren’t last year, and that’s great news. Fewer people are unemployed in Alabama than ever before, and our workforce is larger than it’s ever been, with consecutive growth for the past eight months.”
August’s unemployment rate represents 70,652 unemployed persons, a new record low, down from 75,101 in July and down from 86,212 in 2018.
The civilian labor force increased in August to a record high 2,255,163, up 8,308 from July’s count and up 52,473 from August 2018.
“Additionally, our jobs count reached a record high for the fourth time this year, gaining more than 37,000 jobs over the year, representing a job growth percentage of 1.8%, which, yet again, surpassed the nation’s job growth – all while Alabamians are also seeing growth in their earnings,” concluded Washington.
Year over year, wage and salary employment grew by 37,300, with gains in the professional and business services sector (+9,900); the leisure and hospitality sector (+6,600); and the trade, transportation and utilities sector (+5,200), among others.
Wage and salary employment grew in August by 5,900. Monthly gains were seen in the government sector (+5,300); the professional and business services sector (+3,000); and the trade, transportation and utilities sector (+1,900), among others.
Average weekly earnings increased $27.05 since August 2018 and $8.97 since July.
The rising tide is lifting boats across Alabama, too.
All 67 counties saw their unemployment rates decrease over the year, and 66 of 67 counties saw their rates decrease or remain the same over the month.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates in August were Shelby County at 2.1%; Marshall and Madison Counties at 2.3%; and Morgan, Limestone and Elmore Counties at 2.4%.
Counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox County at 6.9%, Clarke County at 5.9% and Greene County at 5.8%.
While still the highest, Wilcox County’s unemployment rate is down 3.1% over-the-year.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates were Vestavia Hills at 1.8%; Northport and Homewood at 1.9%; and Alabaster and Hoover at 2.0%.
Major cities with the highest unemployment rates were Selma at 6.5%, Prichard at 5.5% and Anniston at 4.1%.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn