Huntsville chamber working to increase low labor force participation
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Labor force participation data shows under 60 percent of capable workers currently have a job. To put it in perspective, the same data suggests that the number was around 65 percent before the year 2000.
Huntsville Madison County Chamber of Commerce Vice President Lucia Cape says there is no sign it is going to change right now.
”Our unemployment rate is still low, but our labor participation rate is also low,” she said. “We’d like to see more people applying and going back to work. We know that COVID kind of slowed things down a bit, but given the number of available jobs in our community, there are 13,000 jobs available right now on Indeed.”
Cape said it is important to recruit new businesses, expand current ones and get new faces in the labor force.
“They’re expanding because their workforce is here, and because their customers are here,” she said. “We’re seeing more and more companies coming into here because of growth in the FBI, Mazda-Toyota, and OEM. We’re seeing growth because of growth, and it’s kind of self-perpetuating. The people come because of the jobs, and the jobs come because of the talent.”
Joey Ceci with Breland companies said encouraging the growth and success of starter-level jobs like food service can continue to alleviate the labor force concern.
“I think that’s going to expand opportunities because when you get that good worker, you want to make sure you keep them, to reward them, and to show them the way to advance either in your company or to advance their skills doing other things,” he said.
Both told WAFF that it is important to recruit graduating high school seniors and college seniors to starter-level jobs in order to keep them in the Madison County workforce.
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