By Craig Monger

Since October, Alabama’s unemployment rate has held steady and has vastly improved since November of 2020.

According to Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington, Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted November unemployment rate is 3.1%, unchanged from October 2021, and well below November 2020’s rate of 4.7%.  

“Alabama is continuing to hold steady in regard to unemployment,” Washington said. “We’re fortunate to not see large shifts in these numbers, even as other economic factors continue to experience pandemic related volatility.  In November, more people joined the labor force, more people started working, and yet again, we recorded a new record high jobs count for 2021.”

The civilian labor force increased by 6,474 in November, and the number of those counted as employed rose 5,661 to 2,149,935. November’s rate represents 68,673 unemployed persons, compared to 67,860 in October and 105,558 in November 2020.

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased by 48,300, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+16,600), the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+8,700), and the education and health services sector (+7,800), among others.

Wage and salary employment increased in November by 1,500.  Monthly gains were seen in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+6,600), the government sector (+2,000), and the information sector (+300), among others.  

“We also continue to see wage growth in many of our sectors," Washington said. "For example, the leisure and hospitality sector, which arguably was affected the most by the pandemic, has seen its wages hit a new record high in November, rising $44.99 weekly since November 2020. In general, wages are up to $31.70 a week over the year.” 

The leisure and hospitality sector’s average weekly wages rose to $401.66, a new record high in November. 

Total private average weekly earnings rose $31.70 over the year to $975.39.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby County at 2.0%, Marshall, Cullman, and Blount Counties at 2.1%, and Limestone, Franklin, Dekalb, and Clay Counties at 2.2%.  Counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox County at 9.7%, Lowndes County at 7.8%, and Perry County at 7.3%.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are Athens at 1.7%, Homewood at 1.8%, and Alabaster at 1.9%.  Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are Selma at 7.2%, Prichard at 6.6%, and Anniston at 5.3%.

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