Alabama unemployment hits record low while worker shortage continues

Alabama's unemployment rate is at a record low while the worker shortage continues. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Published: May. 21, 2022 at 6:15 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Less Alabamians are unemployed than ever before. That’s according to new numbers released by the governor.

The preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April is 2.8%. It was 3.6% this same time last year. The state cites this a new record low. The national unemployment rate is 3.6%.

“People, for the most part, have jobs who want jobs,” said Nancy Dennis with the Alabama Retail Association.

While the unemployment rate is down, that does not mean the current worker shortage is over.

Companies are still looking to hire. The Alabama Retail Association represents 4,300 businesses across the state. Many are stores and restaurants.

“This problem is still the same,” Dennis said. “We’re still looking for employees. We’re speaking to, you know, restaurants yesterday and, you know, we could hire, you know, four or five more people.”

So, why is there a disparity between the unemployment rate and companies looking to hire? Dennis broke it down.

“People have found jobs, and so they’ve come off of the unemployment rolls,” she said. “There are some people who are not collecting unemployment and not working, and they don’t intend to work.”

Alabama’s labor force participation rate is at 57%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is the rate of people working or actively looking for work. The national rate is 62.2%.

To encourage people to apply for positions, Dennis explained that many retailers are offering incentives.

“Some employers are still offering signing bonuses, you know, hiring bonuses, those kinds of things, just to attract employees,” she said. “They’re still looking for good employees.”

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