State’s Unemployment Rate Continues to Fall; Registers Biggest Rate Drop in Nation in August
The steady decline in Alabama’s unemployment rate continued in August, dropping from 4.5 percent in July to 4.2 percent. That is well below August 2016’s rate of 5.9 percent, and below the national average of 4.5 percent.
“After hovering near the national unemployment rate for several months, Alabama’s rate has dropped below it for the first time in many years,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “This is a milestone we’ve been working toward for some time. We announced (last) 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 for August was 4.4 percent, up slightly from July’s rate of 4.3 percent. The last time Alabama’s unemployment rate was below the national rate was in October 2013.
According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Alabama had the largest unemployment rate decrease in the nation, both over the month and over the year. Alabama’s unemployment rate dropped by 0.3 percentage points from July to August, and 1.7 percentage points from August 2016 to August 2017.
“The news that Alabama experienced the largest rate drop in the country is most welcome,” said Fitzgerald Washington, secretary of the Alabama Department of Labor. “We’ve already announced that we’ve got the fewest number of unemployed people in Alabama in a decade and that we are below the national average for the first time in years. We are committed to working with employers and job seekers to ensure that we continue to put people back to work.”
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.
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased by 28,300, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (plus 9,600 jobs), the professional and business services sector (plus 7,600), and the construction sector (plus 6,500), among others.
Wage and salary employment increased in August by 3,100. Monthly gains were seen in the government sector ( plus 3,100), the professional and business service sector ( plus 2,700), and the education and health services sector (plus 2,200), among others.
Alabama was also one of only six states to have an increase in wage and salary employment in August.
All counties, major cities and metropolitan statistical areas experienced drops in their unemployment rates, both over the year and over the month.