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Alabama’s labor rate steady at 57.4 percent

The preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate inched up to 2.9 percent from December’s 2.8 percent.

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The state’s Department of Labor, under the guidance of Secretary Fitzgerald Washington, has delivered its latest labor force findings for January 2024. Despite the ebb and flow of economic indicators, Alabama’s labor force participation rate has held steady at 57.4 percent, mirroring its previous month’s figure. A noteworthy uptick is observed among prime-age workers, those between 25 to 54 years, who now represent 78.6 percent of the workforce, a slight increase from the preceding month and a near percentage point rise year-over-year from 77.7 percent.

Secretary Washington underscored the significance of this demographic’s contribution to the workforce, stating, “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.”

However, the state’s unemployment narrative presents a mixed picture. The preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate inched up to 2.9 percent from December’s 2.8 percent, marking a slight increase from the previous year’s 2.4 percent. This translates to 66,591 individuals without jobs, a rise from both the preceding month and year.

On a brighter note, the total number of employed Alabamians surged by 31,157 over the past year to reach 2,261,270. The civilian labor force expanded as well, with 43,861 new entrants, pushing the total to 2,327,861.

Job creation remains a beacon of optimism, with 38,300 new positions materializing over the past year, elevating the state’s wage and salary employment to 2,166,500. Notable sectors driving this growth include government, private education and health services, and manufacturing.

Secretary Washington remains optimistic about the state’s economic trajectory, stating, “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.”

Regional disparities in employment rates persist, with Shelby County boasting the lowest unemployment at 2.5 percent, contrasted starkly by Wilcox County’s 10.5 percent. Major cities also exhibit varying rates, with Homewood enjoying a low 2.0 percent unemployment rate, while Selma faces a challenging 8.2 percent.

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As Alabama marches forward into 2024, these figures not only reflect the current economic landscape but also set the stage for the state’s economic endeavors in the coming months.

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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