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County, state unemployment rates drop

Unemployment rates for Chilton County and Alabama decreased by 0.2 percent from April to May, the state Department of Industrial Relations announced Friday.

The county’s rate fell from 10 percent to 9.8 percent, while Alabama’s went from 11 percent to 10.8 percent in the same time period.

The May figures translate to about 1,800 jobless persons in Chilton County and more than 225,500 jobless persons statewide.

“Our unemployment rate has shown a decline and that’s obviously good news,” said DIR Director Tom Surtees. “We continue to hope that the positive signs we are seeing in the state’s economy, such as adding to the wage and salary employment numbers and the drop in first-time payments to unemployment compensation beneficiaries, are indicative of a positive trend. Unfortunately, we are unsure at this time how much of an impact the Gulf Oil Spill will have on our unemployment rate.”

Wage and salary employment increased by 13,700 over the month with the upturn resulting from gains in the following sectors: government (due to the addition of temporary census workers), leisure and hospitality, construction, professional and business services, manufacturing, other services, and natural resources and mining.

Since the beginning of the year, wage and salary employment in Alabama has increased by 44,400.

The number of first payments to UC beneficiaries is down significantly from 2009 levels, and is approaching 2008 levels. In May 2010, the number of first time payments made to claimants was 8,594 compared to 12,915 in May 2009.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby at 7.3 percent, Madison at 7.5 percent and Coffee at 7.6 percent. Counties with the highest rates are: Wilcox at 24 percent, Monroe at 18.5 percent and Dallas at 17.9 percent.