State unemployment rate up slightly at 2.9%

(Alabama Department of Labor)

MONTGOMERY, Ala.  –  Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced Monday that Alabama’s labor force participation rate for January 2024 remained unchanged at 57.4%. The percentage of prime-age workers increased by one-tenth of a percentage point to 78.6% over the month. Over the year, this number increased nearly an entire percentage point from 77.7%. Prime-age workers are those aged 25-54 years.

“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.”

Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 2.9%, up slightly 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 number of people counted as employed increased 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.

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased by 38,300 to 2,166,500, with gains in the government sector (+10,400), the private education and health services sector (+9,100), and the manufacturing sector (+5,500), among others.

“We saw over the year job growth of more than 38,000,” continued Washington. “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.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby County at 2.5%, Morgan County at 2.6% and Marshall, Limestone, Cullman and Autauga counties at 2.7%. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox County at 10.5%, Greene County at 7.3% and Clarke County at 7.1%. Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are Homewood at 2.0%, Vestavia Hills at 2.1% and Alabaster and Madison at 2.3%.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are Selma at 8.2%, Prichard at 6.6% and Bessemer and Gadsden at 5.1%.