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Labor: Unemployment rate increases to 3% in February

Alabama’s unemployment rate increased slightly to 3% in February from 2.9% in January and 2.3% in February 2023, the Alabama Department of Labor said this morning.

The state’s labor participation rate — that measurement of able-bodied adults in the workforce — was unchanged from January at 57.4%.

The number of “prime age” workers, those between 25 and 54, did tick up slightly from 78.6% to 78.7%. A year ago, it was at 77.4%.

“The growth in the prime-age labor force participation rate is truly encouraging,” Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said in a written statement. “We continue to see both monthly and yearly growth in this population segment, which tells us that the folks who can and should be working are doing their part and steadily joining the labor force.”

The labor participation rate, lower than the national average of 62.5%, is now driving support in the Legislature for a package of bills lawmakers and Gov. Kay Ivey hope will result in more people working.

Three percent unemployment represents 69,086 unemployed people currently looking for jobs, compared to 66,558 in January and 53,034 in February 2023.

The number of people counted as employed increased by 23,963 over the year to 2.25 million.

“Job growth is also rising in Alabama,” Washington said. “Our economy is supporting nearly 40,000 more jobs than we were last year.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates in February were: Shelby, 2.6%; Morgan, 2.7%; and Madison and Limestones, 2.8%.

Major cities with the lowest unemployment rates were: Homewood and Vestavia Hills, 2.4%; Alabaster, Hoover, Madison and Trussville, 2.5 % and Northport, 2.7%.

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