Unemployment rates see slight increase for May

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, June 23, 2022

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Unemployment rates for May saw a slight increase across the area, including in Covington County, according to the Alabama Department of Labor.

In May, Covington County’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate came in at 2.3 percent, an increase from April’s rate of 1.9 percent. The May 2022 number is a decrease from the same month in 2021 when unemployment was at 2.9 percent.

The slight upward trend was seen across the area. Butler County’s rate was 3.5 percent for May, up from April’s 3.2 percent. Coffee County saw an increase from April’s 3.2 percent to 3.5; Conecuh County’s rate increased from 1.9 percent to 2.2; Crenshaw County’s rate increased from 2 percent to 2.2; Escambia County’s rate increased from 2.3 percent to 2.6; Geneva County’s rate went from 1.8 percent in April to 2.2 in May. All of those counties saw a decrease when comparing May 2021 to May 2022.

Statewide, unemployment hit a new record low with the seasonally adjusted rate coming in at 2.7 percent, down from April’s rate of 2.8 percent and below May 2021’s rate of 3.6 percent.

“Once more, we are seeing the resiliency of Alabama’s workforce,” said Governor Kay 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 the having the lowest unemployment rate in the southeast, and our wages are growing at a remarkable pace.”

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

May’s rate represents 61,621 unemployed persons, a new record low, compared to 63,184 in April and 80,191 in May 2021. Additionally, the number of people counted as employed grew to 2,222,977 in May, a new record high. This represents an increase from 2,213,187 in April, and an increase 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.

“All of the elements needed for positive economic growth continue to improve and are consistently breaking records,” said Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald 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.

Alabama counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 1.6 percent, Marshall County at 1.8, and Morgan, Limestone, Elmore, and Cullman counties at 1.9 percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 8.5 percent, Lowndes and Perry Counties at 5.9 percent, and Dallas County at 5.4 percent.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Alabaster at 1.4 percent, Homewood and Trussville at 1.5 percent, and Hoover and Madison at 1.6 percent.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 7 percent, Prichard at 5.4 percent, and Gadsden at 3.8 percent.