Making sense of the latest unemployment numbers in Alabama

Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 8:02 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 30, 2022 at 10:06 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama has one of the lowest employment rates in the country and one of the lowest workforce participation rates.

The unemployment rate is holding steady at 2.6% and measures the number of people who are unemployed and currently looking for work.

The workforce participation rate considers everyone, even those who do not want to work or who can not work.

Right now, it’s 57%. This means retirees, those who are taking care of either young children or older relatives and those with disabilities.

Alabama Department of Labor Communications Director Tara Hutchison says Alabama has always had a low workforce participation rate.

Hutchison says the pandemic has only exacerbated the problem, forcing many to leave the workforce for one reason or another. Still labor leaders are encouraged by the latest data.

“That civilian labor force is at a record high. The number of people who are counted as employed in Alabama is at a record high and has been breaking that record month after month in 2022. The number of people who are counted as unemployed is reaching record lows. So all of our economic metrics are really doing really well,” said Hutchison.

The workforce participation number matters because a greater workforce participation rate could lead to more business development here in Alabama.

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