Labor force in the Birmingham region reaches all-time high for August

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By Emily Jerkins, Birmingham Business Alliance Director of Research

With a tightening labor market across the nation, Birmingham experienced record-breaking labor force growth last month, according to data from the Alabama Department of Labor. The region’s labor force grew to 544,341 in August – the highest number of labor force participants on record for the month of August – adding over 12,100 participants since August 2017. Over 2,000 participants were added in the city of Birmingham.

For market conditions to remain favorable, labor force growth will need to keep up with employment growth. Overall, conditions remain favorable with the number of employed residents growing only slightly faster (2.5 percent) than overall labor force participants (2.3 percent) when compared to August 2017.

Here are highlights from the August report:

  • The region’s unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in August, one percentage point less than the previous month and a year ago. All counties within the Birmingham region and the city of Birmingham experienced a slight decline in unemployment rate over the previous month and a year ago.

  • Employed residents in the Birmingham region reached 523,856 - over 12,600 more residents employed than a year ago and more than 2,100 of which are in the city of Birmingham.

  • The number of jobs in Birmingham grew to 538,300 in August, up 7,600 jobs since August 2017. Jobs are down 300 from July 2018, which is expected due to the seasonal peak of jobs during summer months.

  • The industries gaining the most jobs year-over-year include: leisure and hospitality (up 2,900), professional and business services (up 2,200), retail trade (up 2,200) and manufacturing (up 1,300).

  • The industries losing the most jobs year-over-year include: financial activities (down 900), construction (down 400), wholesale trade (down 300), utilities (down 300) and information (down 300).

  • There were 8,049 unique job postings in August, a five percent increase over August 2017. See graphics for the top ten jobs and skills posted.

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For more information, please see the Alabama Labor Market’s August 2018 newsletter.

Sources: Alabama Labor Market Information and Burning Glass Technologies.

Note: Labor market data became available on the Birmingham metro area in 1990.