Suicide rates among industrial groups were examined systematically using death certificate data from 1984 through 1989 in Alabama. Poisson log-linear modelling was used to estimate the rate ratios (RR) of industries compared to a referent and to adjust for confounding. Marked differences in suicide rates were found among industrial groups. The rates ranged from 5.31 to 62.36 per 100,000 population per year. People employed in public administration had the lowest rate. In comparison with public administration, the construction industry had the highest risk (adjusted RR = 11.8, 95% confidence interval (CI): 9.6-14.6). Employees of the mining industry experienced a similarly high risk (adjusted RR = 11.5, 95% CI: 8.2-16.3). Persons employed in farming, agriculture services, forestry, and fisheries, manufacturing, and transportation, communications, and other public utilities industries had intermediate risks. Smaller elevations of suicide rates compared to public administration were observed in the wholesale trade, retail trade, finance, insurance, and real estate, and services industries. The differences of suicide rates may be related to sociodemographic differences, self-selection for occupation, ease of access to lethal agents, or job stress.