New Record Low Unemployment Rate in November; Rate Drops to 3.5%

Office of Alabama Governor's picture

Economy Supporting Record High Number of Jobs

MONTGOMERY – Governor Kay Ivey announced today that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted November unemployment rate set a new record low of 3.5%, down from October’s previous record setting rate of 3.6%, and well below November 2016’s rate of 6.2%.  November’s rate represents 75,807 unemployed persons, also a new record low, compared to 77,231 in October and 136,135 in November 2016. More people were counted as employed in November, with 2,087,667 people working, up from 2,079,720 in October, and 40,152 more than in November 2016, when 2,047,515 were counted as employed.

It was just last month when we reached the extraordinary milestone of breaking all previous unemployment rate records, but now just a month later the trend continues and we have once again broken those records.” Governor Ivey said.  “This continued historic decline in our unemployment rate, coupled with the fact that Alabama’s businesses are employing more Alabamians than ever before, shows that we are truly moving forward and proving to everyone that Alabama is a great place to live and do business.”

“We have 30,500 more jobs now than we did last year, over 40,000 more people are working, and the number of unemployed has dropped by over 60,000 from last year -  the fewest number of people counted as unemployed in Alabama history!  We will continue our work to ensure that any Alabamian who wants a job, can find one,” Governor Ivey continued.

“Our construction employment, currently measuring 91,500, is at one of its highest levels in more than eight years,” said Fitzgerald Washington, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Labor.  “Construction employment is an indicator of economic stability, and we have seen a steady increase in construction employment for most of this year.  Additionally, our manufacturing employment is at its highest level in nearly nine years, nearing 2008 levels, which are pre-recessionary in Alabama.”

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased by 30,500, increasing to 2,029,800, the highest number ever recorded, with gains in the construction sector (+6,600), the manufacturing sector (+5,600), and the leisure and hospitality sector (+5,200), among others.

Wage and salary employment increased in November by 6,700.  Monthly gains were seen in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+6,200), the government sector (+1,800), and the manufacturing sector (+400), among others.

“All 67 counties experienced significant drops in their unemployment rates over the year,” continued Washington.  “Wilcox County, which traditionally has the highest unemployment rate in the state, has seen its rate drop by 5.7 percentage points since last year.  2017 marks the first time in a decade that all counties’ unemployment rates have been in the single digits.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 2.6%, Marshall and Cullman Counties at 3.0%, and Madison, Lee, and Elmore Counties at 3.1%.  Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 9.3%, Clarke County at 6.7%, and Lowndes County at 6.4%.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Vestavia Hills at 2.4%, Homewood at 2.5%, and Alabaster and Hoover at 2.6%.  Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 6.6%, Prichard at 6.5%, and Anniston and Bessemer at 4.9%.

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November 2017 City Rates
November 2017 County Rates
November 2017 County Map

Members of the media seeking more information should contact Communications Director Tara Hutchison at (334) 242-8616.

“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.

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