Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) announced on Friday that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted, March unemployment rate is 2.9%, which is down from February’s rate of 3.0% and below March 2021’s rate of 3.7%. This unemployment rate ties the all-time record low unemployment rate previously registered in September 2019 and is the lowest number of unemployed Alabamians ever.
Ivey touted the unemployment rate, saying, “Alabama has been on a roll as our folks have been eager to get to work, and the fact that we have once again hit our record low unemployment rate is proof positive of that. We are not relenting our efforts, and I am confident Alabama will continue powering in the right direction because of our hardworking men and women. Truly, the best is yet to come.”
There were only 65,485 unemployed persons in March. This is the lowest number ever recorded.
What vexes employers and state officials alike is the labor participation rate. Nationally the labor participation rate was 62.4% in March, up from 62.3% in February. Alabama's participation rate of 57.8% ranks 43rd nationally.
Some 42.2% of Alabama adults are not working and are not officially unemployed. These adults could be full-time students, retired, disabled, homemakers, living off investments, imprisoned or involved in the unreported "cash" economy. With plentiful jobs available, luring more Alabamians off the sidelines and back into the workforce is a challenge for state government and employers alike.
“At no point in Alabama’s history have we recorded fewer people as unemployed,” said Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. “Alabamians are working, businesses are hiring, and we are getting back to normal with every passing month.”
The civilian labor force increased by 9,901 over the month to 2,270,463. The number of people counted as employed rose by 36,734 over the year to 2,204,978.
Wage and salary employment increased in March by 3,800. Monthly gains were seen in the government sector (+2,500), the construction sector (+2,200) and the leisure and hospitality sector (+2,200), among others.
Over the year, wage and salary employment increased by 40,100, with gains in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+11,900), the leisure and hospitality sector (+10,500) and the construction sector (+4,500), among others.
“We are continuing to see healthy job growth, with more than 40,000 jobs gained since last year,” said Washington. “Wages in several sectors saw growth again this month, and two sectors reached an even higher record since last month.”
The construction sector and the professional and business services sector both once again attained new record high weekly wages, with yearly increases of $104.19 and $124.52, respectively.
The counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby County at 1.7%, Cullman County at 1.8%, and Morgan, Marshall and Limestone Counties at 1.9%. The counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox County at 8.8%, Lowndes County at 6.5% and Perry County at 6.3%.
The major cities with the lowest unemployment rates are Alabaster and Vestavia Hills at 1.4%, Homewood at 1.5%, and Hoover and Trussville at 1.6%. The major cities with the highest unemployment rates are Selma at 6.9%, Prichard at 5.0% and Anniston at 4.7%.
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