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Alabama labor force participation remained unchanged in January, among lowest in U.S.

The Alabama Department of Labor reported that the state labor force participation rate remained constant at 57.4% for the month of January. The national rate was 62.5%, placing Alabama among the five lowest-ranking states in terms of residents either working or actively looking for work.

However, the agency did say that the job count in Alabama has increased by 38,000 jobs in just a single year.

Department of Labor Secretary, Fitzgerald Washington, discussed the numbers and emphasized the importance of prime age workers to the state’s economy.

“We are continuing to see those prime-age workers growing in our labor force,” said Washington. “More than three out of every four prime-age workers are holding down a job. This growth will contribute to the overall health of Alabama’s economy.”

The percentage of prime-age workers-individuals from the age of 25 to 54-increased by one-tenth of a percentage point to 78.6% over the month. Over the year, this number increased close to a full percentage point from 77.7%.

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He also touched on the increase in available positions throughout the state.

“We saw over the year job growth of more than 38,000. This means that employers are continuing to create new jobs and are filling those positions with hard working Alabamians.”

“We look forward to more positive growth during 2024.”

Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 2.9%, up from December 2023’s revised rate of 2.8%. January’s rate is above January 2023’s rate of 2.4%. The rate represents 66,591 unemployed persons, compared to 64,101 in December 2023 and 53,887 in January 2023.

The Department also said that the number of people employed grew by 31,157 over the year to 2,261,270. The civilian labor force also increased to 2,327,861, with 43,861 more people joining over the year.

According to January’s data, the counties with the lowest unemployment rates currently are Shelby County at 2.5%, Morgan County at 2.6%, and Marshall, Limestone, Cullman, and Autauga Counties at 2.7%. The counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox County at 10.5%, Greene County at 7.3%, and Clarke County at 7.1%.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates in Alabama were Homewood at 2.0%, Vestavia Hills at 2.1%, and Alabaster and Madison at 2.3%. Major cities in the state with the highest unemployment rates include Selma at 8.2%, Prichard at 6.6%, and Bessemer and Gadsden at 5.1%.

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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