Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted May unemployment rate is 9.9%, down from April’s revised rate of 13.8%, and above May 2019’s rate of 3%. May’s rate represents 221,811 unemployed persons, compared to 302,535 in April and 68,057 in May 2019.

In the past week, 218 unemployment claims were filed in Cullman County. So far, the state has paid out nearly $2 billion in COVID-19 related unemployment compensation benefits. Alabama is paying benefits under all three programs covered in the CARES Act: Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).

“This month’s decrease in the unemployment rate reflects that people are returning to work following the pandemic-related shutdown,” said Governor Kay Ivey. “While we are nowhere near pre-pandemic levels, a monthly decrease of nearly four percentage points is certainly a positive. Alabama, along with the rest of the nation, will be feeling the impacts brought on by this virus for months to come. My administration is committed to helping return Alabamians to their jobs safely, and to helping Alabama businesses to reopen and grow.”

“While we are still far short of last year’s economic markers, we did show significant improvement over the last month,” said Washington. “More than 80,000 fewer people were counted as unemployed last month, while the number of employed rose by more than 128,300.”

Alabama unemployment rate drops to 9.9 percent

Unemployment by industry

Wage and salary employment increased in May by 42,500. Monthly gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector (+23,600), the education and health services sector (+9,600), and the other services sector (+5,400), among others. Over the year, wage and salary employment decreased 161,500, with losses in the leisure and hospitality sector (-64,600), the professional and business services sector (-27,700), and the education and health services sector (-16,700), among others.

Average weekly earnings increased to a record high in May, rising to $905.25 per week, representing an increase of $66.43 over the year.

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