Alabama Governor Kay Ivey on Friday announced that the state’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted May unemployment rate set a new all-time record low of 2.7%, down from April’s rate of 2.8%, and below May 2021’s rate of 3.6%.

“Once more, we are seeing the resiliency of Alabama’s workforce,” said Governor Ivey. “Yet again, we’re breaking records that were set only a month ago. We’re nearly a full percentage point below the nation’s unemployment rate, we’ve been consistently ranked as having the lowest unemployment rate in the southeast, and our wages are growing at a remarkable pace.”

Wages have also increased as Alabamians struggle to keep up with inflation.

“In fact, Alabama’s average weekly wages have once again reached a brand-new record high, rising by 20% since May 2019,” Ivey noted. “Alabamians are working, and our business community is reaping the benefits!”

May’s rate represents 61,621 unemployed persons, a new record low. This is down from 63,184 in April and 80,191 in May 2021. The number of people counted as employed grew to 2,222,977 in May, also a new all-time record high.  This is an increase from 2,213,187 in April, and up 53,267 persons employed from 2,169,710 in May 2021.

Alabama’s average weekly earnings grew to a new record high of $1,004.65 in May, up from $995.44 in April, and $978.06 in May 2021.

Fitzgerald Washington is Alabama’s Secretary of Labor.

“All of the elements needed for positive economic growth continue to improve and are consistently breaking records,” said Washington. “This prolonged growth bodes well for Alabama.  More people have joined the labor force than at any other time this year, showing that people have confidence in their ability to find a job. More people are working, and fewer people are unemployed than ever before.  I’d say these are all things to celebrate!”

The Civilian Labor Force (CLF) increased by 34,697 over-the-year to a 2022 record high of 2,284,598.

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 45,700, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+8,300), the professional and business services sector (+7,700), and the construction sector (+6,900), among others.

Wage and salary employment also increased in May by 9,800.  Monthly gains were seen in the professional and business services sector (+4,600), the construction sector (+1,900), and the leisure and hospitality sector (+1,900), among others.

The Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 1.6%, Marshall County at 1.8%, and Morgan, Limestone, Elmore, and Cullman Counties at 1.9%.  The counties still struggling with high unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 8.5%, Lowndes and Perry Counties at 5.9%, and Dallas County at 5.4%.

The major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Alabaster at 1.4%, Homewood and Trussville at 1.5%, and Hoover and Madison at 1.6%.  The major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 7.0%, Prichard at 5.4%, and Gadsden at 3.8%.

Alabama’s 2.7% unemployment rate is better than the national rate of 3.6%; however Alabama’s seasonally adjusted labor force participation rate of 57.1% trails the national average of 62.3%. Alabama’s labor force participation rate has increased from 56.7% in May 2021.

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