House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) recently convened an ad hoc committee to study the causes of Alabama's lackluster labor force participation rate.
Alabama's labor force rate has stagnated at around 57% since August. Despite a low unemployment rate, the "prime-age" participation rate, which measures the labor force participation rate for individuals aged 25-54, remains at 77.8% in Alabama.
Ledbetter announced on Monday that the study committee would address extending adequate childcare to families, examining the correlation between productivity growth and labor output, ensuring wages and salaries are competitive, addressing workforce housing concerns, and offering improved and more expansive mental health programs and services.
According to Ledbetter, the committee would study those specific issues because "insufficiency of resources such as these creates barriers to workforce entry as much as an absence of quality education."
"Alabama is witnessing record-breaking economic growth and historically low unemployment rates," Ledbetter said. "Despite these numbers, in Alabama, there are roughly 140,000 job openings and, at the same time, 48,834 unemployed workers across our state. That means we are lacking nearly 100,000 workers over 16-years-old, which puts our labor force participation rate at a mere 57 percent—one of the lowest rates in the entire country."
State Rep. Reed Ingram (R–Pike Road) will be the committee chairman. Also on the committee are House Majority Leader Scott Stadthagen (R-Hartselle), House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D–Huntsville), House Pro-Tem Chris Pringle (R-Mobile), and State Reps. Danny Garrett (R-Trussville), Donna Givens (R-Loxley), James Lomax (R-Huntsville), Barbara Drummond (D-Mobile), Mike Kirkland (R-Scottsboro), Bill Lamb (R-Tuscaloosa), Kelvin Lawrence (D-Hayneville), Curtis Travis (D-Tuscaloosa), Matt Woods (R-Jasper), Wes Kitchens (R-Guntersville), Jim Carns (R-Vestavia Hills).
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