Alabama Getting the Job Done

State Labor Participation Rate Sees Positive Uptick in April

Alabama Getting the Job Done

{TheChronicle} –Alabama's labor force participation rate, historically below the national average, saw a modest but notable increase in April, according to the Alabama Department of Labor. This uptick accompanied a record high in the total number of employed individuals in the state.

The labor force participation rate, representing the percentage of working-age people either employed or actively seeking employment, rose to 57.5% in April from 57.4% in March. In comparison, the national rate stands at 62.7%, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Encouragingly, the participation rate for prime-age workers in Alabama (ages 25-54) also increased by 0.2 percentage points in April, reaching 79.1%. Over the past year, this rate has grown by 1.7 percentage points, indicating a positive trend.

“This continued growth in our prime age labor force participation rate is truly encouraging,” said Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. “The year-over-year growth shows that our prime-age workers are rejoining the labor force and making an impact. Additionally, our total labor force has reached its highest level, with over 40,000 more people seeking employment compared to last year.”

In response to the low labor participation rate, Governor Kay Ivey and state lawmakers have introduced several legislative measures. These include tax credits for childcare and housing, the creation of a career tech high school diploma for students aiming to enter the workforce immediately after graduation, and the consolidation of the state's workforce development efforts into a single agency.

Alabama's preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April was 3.1%, a slight increase from 3% in March but higher than the 2.3% rate in April 2023. The national unemployment rate for April was 3.9%.

This unemployment rate translates to 72,057 unemployed individuals in Alabama, which is 20,000 more than in April 2023. Despite this, the civilian labor force in Alabama achieved a new record high, increasing to 2,335,450, with an additional 40,170 people joining over the past year.

Shelby County boasted the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 2.0%, followed by Morgan County at 2.1%, and Cullman, Elmore, Madison, and Marshall counties at 2.2%. Conversely, Wilcox County had the highest unemployment rate at 7.7%, followed by Perry County at 5.3% and Dallas County at 5.0%.

Among major cities, Homewood recorded the lowest unemployment rate at 1.8%, with Alabaster, Madison, Trussville, and Vestavia Hills close behind at 1.9%, and Hoover at 2.0%.

In contrast, the cities with the highest unemployment rates were Selma at 5.7%, Prichard at 4.9%, and both Gadsden and Mobile at 3.7%.

The slight increase in Alabama’s labor force participation rate, coupled with the legislative efforts to bolster workforce development, reflects a hopeful outlook for the state's economic future.