Labor participation rate rises in state

Published 10:38 am Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced that Alabama’s labor force participation rate for November increased to 57.1 percent. The percentage of prime-age workers increased by three-tenths of a percentage point to 78.4 percent over the month. Prime-age workers are those aged 25-54 years.

“Our labor force participation rate increased this month slightly, but over the year, we saw a bit more growth, with the rate increasing by nearly half of a percentage point. The prime-age worker labor force participation rate also showed modest improvement, increasing by three-tenths of a percentage point over the month. This means that three out of every four prime-age Alabamians are holding down a job, and that number is steadily increasing, month over month,” said Washington. “Additionally, we saw significant growth in the number of jobs our economy is supporting, reaching a new record high and adding nearly 38,000 new jobs over the year.”

Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted November unemployment rate is 2.4%, up slightly from October’s rate of 2.3 percent. November’s rate is well below November 2022’s rate of 2.6 percent. The rate represents 55,475 unemployed persons, compared to 52,182 in October and 60,169 in November 2022.

The number of people counted as employed increased by 40,100 over the year to a record high of 2,263,270. The civilian labor force also increased to a new record high of 2,318,745, with 35,406 more people joining over the year.

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased by 37,500, reaching a new record high of 2,184,900, with gains in the private education and health services sector (+14,000), the government sector (+6,500), and the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+4,700), among others.

Wage and salary employment increased in November by 17,400. Monthly gains were seen in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+6,200), the private education and health services sector (+5,200), and the manufacturing sector (+3,200), among others.

“This job growth continues improving, and we know that Alabama’s employers are continuing to add jobs each and every month,” continued Washington. “We also saw modest over the year wage growth, and two large employment sectors saw their highest ever wages in November.”

The total private average weekly wage increased in November by $17.49 over the year to $1,010.82. Average weekly wages in both the construction and trade, transportation, and utilities sectors reached new record highs, with construction wages increasing by $126.01 per week (over the year) and trade, transportation, and utilities wages increasing by $27.57 weekly (over the year).

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 1.8 percent, Morgan, County at 1.9 percent, Marshall and Bullock Counties at 2.0 percent. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 8.0 percent, Dallas County at 5.4 percent, and Perry County at 5.0 percent.