MONTGOMERY – Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted March unemployment rate is 5.8 percent, down from February’s rate of 6.2 percent, and below March 2016’s rate of 5.9 percent. March’s rate represents 128,757 unemployed persons, compared to 136,667 in February and 128,478 in March 2016. March’s rate represents 2,080,139 employed persons, compared to 2,067,352 in February and 2,037,370 in March 2016.
“I am encouraged to hear that nearly 13,000 more Alabamians have a job today than did in February. As we work to improve Alabama’s image, these figures are welcomed news, but they are just a start. I am honored that the first employment numbers announced during my administration are on the right side of the ledger,” said Governor Kay Ivey.
“The month’s drop in the unemployment rate came about because more people entered the labor force looking for work, and most of them found it,” said Washington. “Thirteen thousand more people are working today in Alabama than last month and nearly 43,000 more are working now than in March of last year.”
“We are also very close to reaching an employment milestone: a wage and salary employment figure of two million. We’re only 10,000 jobs away from reaching this goal, which hasn’t been met since June 2008 and has, in fact, only been achieved 13 times over the past ten years.”
Wage and salary employment increased in March by 8,500 to 1,990,000. Monthly gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector (+3,200), the professional and business services sector (+2,400), and the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+1,700), among others.
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 28,500, with gains in the education and health services sector (+7,900), the manufacturing sector (+6,700), and the professional and business services sector (+6,000), among others.
“Every county experienced a drop in their unemployment rate over the month, and 66 of our 67 counties saw their rates stay the same or decrease over the year,” continued Washington. “All of the metropolitan statistical areas also saw their rates drop this month.”
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 4.0 percent, Elmore County at 4.4 percent, and Cullman County at 4.5 percent. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 13.8 percent, Clarke and Greene Counties at 9.6 percent, and Lowndes County at 9.3 percent.
Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 3.5 percent, Homewood at 3.7 percent, and Hoover at 3.8 percent. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma and Prichard at 9.5 percent, Bessemer at 7.4 percent, and Anniston at 6.8 percent.
“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.