MONTGOMERY — More than $5 billion of unemployment benefits has been blocked from being sent out in Alabama due to concerns of fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Alabama Department of Labor.
That is an unprecedented amount and a problem seen all across the country, ADOL Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said.
“Since the pandemic, ADOL has received more claims than ever before, which has significantly increased the risks of fraud,” Washington said in a statement to Alabama Daily News. “Federal programs with increased weekly benefits made it even more appealing to criminals looking to defraud the system.” Read more.
As of Saturday, Alabama’s unemployed workers will no longer receive extra federally funded benefits put in place to help people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Kay Ivey last month announced she was withdrawing the state from those programs effective June 19. Read more about her reasons and the effects on the unemployed in BirminghamWatch’s original reporting.
Governor Shuts Down Extra Help for the Unemployed, Says Workers Needed to Invigorate the Economy
Alabama’s unemployment rate for March was 3.8%, down from 4% in February.
That compares to a record-low 2.6% in March 2020, right before COVID-19 and precautions to stop its spread led to a double-digit spike in unemployment.
March’s rate represents 84,670 unemployed people, compared to 91,041 in February and 57,895 in March 2020. Alabama is comfortably below the national average of 6%, the Alabama Department of Labor said this morning. Read more.
A bill to reduce the number of weeks people receive jobless benefits and tie them to the state’s unemployment rate passed the Alabama House of Representatives on Tuesday and goes to the governor. Senate Bill 193 would shorten the maximum time for unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 14-20 weeks. Read more.
MONTGOMERY — According to the numbers, it’s a good time to be working in Alabama.
The Alabama Department of Labor announced Friday that February’s unemployment rate of 3.7 percent is the lowest recorded rate in the state’s history. February’s rate is a tick down from January’s 3.8 percent, the previous record low, and below February 2018’s 4.0 percent.
“The outstanding work being done by the Alabama Departments of Labor and Commerce is helping to ensure businesses are growing in our state and that we are connecting employees with those jobs,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a written statement. “We still have more people seeking employment opportunities and we will do all we can to help them find jobs as well.” Read more.