News Release from Alabama Department of Labor
For Immediate Release: November 17, 2023

MONTGOMERY – Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today that Alabama’s labor force participation rate remained steady at 57.0%. The percentage of prime-age workers increased by one-tenth of a percentage point to 78.1% over the month. Prime-age workers are those aged 25-54 years.

“We are continuing to see positive growth in our prime-age worker labor force participation rate, with more than three out of every four prime-age Alabamians holding down a job,” said Washington. “One of the main components of the labor force participation rate is the state’s total population, and Alabama has a larger portion of retired workers. We will continue to work to bring in other, more traditionally underutilized segments of the population to ensure that we are maximizing our workforce.”

Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted October unemployment rate is 2.3%, up slightly from September’s rate of 2.2%. October’s rate is well below October 2022’s rate of 2.6%. The rate represents 52,196 unemployed persons, compared to 50,166 in September and 60,443 in October 2022.

The number of people counted as employed increased by 38,038 over the year to a record high of 2,260,806. The civilian labor force also increased to a new record high of 2,313,002, with 29,791 more people joining over the year.

“Our labor force is growing, and more and more people are working,” continued Washington. “Additionally, Alabamians are earning more money – this month we saw our average weekly wages rise to a new record high of $1,027.76.”

The total private average weekly wage increased in October by $8.10 over the year to a new record high of $1,027.76. Average weekly wages in both the construction and financial activities sectors reached new record highs, with construction wages increasing by $71.63 per week and financial activities wages increasing by $104.68 weekly.

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased by 24,700, reaching a new record high of 2,163,400, with gains in the private education and health services sector (+8,700), the government sector (+7,400), and the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+5,900), among others.

Wage and salary employment increased in October by 5,700. Monthly gains were seen in the professional and business services sector (+3,300), the government sector (+3,100), and the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+1,600), among others.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are:  Shelby County at 1.8%, Morgan, Limestone, Cullman, and Chilton Counties at 1.9%, and St. Clair, Marshall, Madison, Elmore, Cleburne, Cherokee, Bullock and Blount Counties at 2.0%. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 7.8%, Dallas County at 5.6%, and Clarke and Perry Counties at 4.6%.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Alabaster, Homewood, and Vestavia Hills at 1.6%, Hoover, Madison, and Trussville at 1.7%, and Athens at 1.8%. Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 6.6%, Prichard at 4.8%, and Bessemer at 4.0%.


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.