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June 21, 2024

News Release

For Immediate Release: June 21, 2024

Alabama’s Labor Force Participation Rate Holds Steady in May

State Records Record Number of Jobs

 MONTGOMERY – Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today that Alabama’s labor force participation rate for May held steady at 57.5%. The percentage of prime-age workers increased by one-tenth of a percentage point to 79.2% over the month. Over the year, this number increased by one and six-tenths percentage points from 77.6%. Prime-age workers are those aged 25-54 years.

“Our over the year growth in prime age workers participating in the labor force continues to be encouraging,” said Washington. “We’re also seeing record high numbers in our civilian labor force and the number of people who are working.  In May, nearly 38,000 more people decided to enter into the job market than at the same time last year.”

Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 3.0%, down slightly from April 2023’s revised rate of 3.1%. The May rate is higher than May 2023’s rate of 2.3%.  The rate represents 70,679 unemployed persons, compared to 72,045 in April and 52,341 in May 2023.

The number of people counted as employed increased by 19,648 over the year to 2,266,164, a new record high. The civilian labor force also increased to 2,336,843, with 37,986 more people joining over the year. This is also a new record high.

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased by 49,200 to 2,208,400, a new record high, with gains in the private education and health sector (+11,500), the government sector (+9,200), and the manufacturing sector (+8,600), among others.

“This job growth is indicative of positive trends in our economy,” continued Washington. “As we continue to set higher and higher record jobs count numbers, we’re also seeing wage growth in many sectors, with some hitting new record highs.”

The trade, transportation, and utilities sector reached a new record high weekly wage with $881.01, up $56.88 from last year.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are:  Shelby County at 1.8%, Morgan County at 1.9%, and Cullman, Elmore, Limestone, Madison, and Marshall Counties at 2.0%.  Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 6.8%, Perry County at 4.5%, and Dallas County at 4.4%.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Trussville at 1.6%, Homewood and Vestavia Hills at 1.7%, and Alabaster, Hoover, and Madison at 1.8%.  Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 5.3%, Prichard at 4.3%, and Bessemer at 3.4%.

Members of the media seeking more information should contact Communications Director Tara Hutchison.
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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.