Jobless figures increase slightly

Published 5:17 pm Monday, May 25, 2009

In unemployment figures released Friday, the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations announced the state’s unemployment in April remained unchanged from those figures in March. That marks the first time in 18 months the monthly jobless figures had not increased from the previous month.

But, the same could not be said for Chilton County, which saw its unemployment figure move from 8.2 percent in March to 9 percent in April. What makes April’s figure standout even more is the comparison to the April 2008 unemployment total, when only 3.1 percent was reported.

Although the year-to-year comparisons are significant, the month-to-month state figures show there may be some light at the end of the recession tunnel.

“The fact that our unemployment rate has held steady since last month indicates that we may finally begin to see some relief from the recession,” Alabama Department of Industrial Relations director Tom Surtees said. “While we still have many in our state that are unemployed, we are starting to see increases in job sectors and decreases in the number of jobs lost throughout the month. Hopefully, these trends will continue.”

While the state is still registering monthly job losses, the number of jobs lost is significantly lower than earlier in the year. In January 2009, the state lost 40,600 jobs, compared to 6,200 in April.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates were Shelby at 5.8 percent, Madison at 5.9 percent and Coffee at 6.2 percent. The counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox at 22.2 percent, Chambers at 17.3 percent and Lowndes at 17.1 percent.