Chilton County unemployment down to 5.8 percent

Published 8:21 pm Monday, May 21, 2012

Chilton County’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.8 percent, according to numbers released Friday.

The county’s preliminary jobless rate for April was down from March’s 6.6 percent.

Statewide, the unemployment rate fell in April to 7.2 percent, down from 7.4 percent the previous month.

April’s rate represents 154,307 unemployed persons, down from 157,494 last month and 203,520 in April 2011.

“Alabama hasn’t seen an unemployment rate this low since the start of the recession,” Gov. Robert Bentley said. “I think we are getting to a point where we are seeing many areas of the economy improving.”

Bentley referenced the automotive base in Alabama, calling it “increasingly strong.”  “Just yesterday, we announced Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Alabama will be expanding its production facility in Huntsville,” Bentley said. “We have also seen many other exciting developments across the state that are leading to new jobs for Alabamians. We will continue our job creation efforts with the goal that anyone who wants a job is able to find one.”

Wage and salary employment increased by 8,500 jobs over the month, with gains occurring in the leisure and hospitality industry, the professional and business services industry, and the trade, transportation and utilities industry, among others.

The last time Alabama’s unemployment rate was at or below 7.2 percent was in November 2008.

“The Gulf Coast and other areas of our state are gearing up for what looks to be a record year for tourism, and that’s adding jobs,” said Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees. “Also, our automotive manufacturing and auto supplier industries are nearing full employment, which is contributing significantly to our decline in unemployment.”

Preliminary figures show that the number of employees in the Motor Vehicles Parts Manufacturing industry has increased by 13.1 percent over the past year.

The number of employees in the Motor Vehicle Manufacturing industry has increased by 3.96 percent.

Employment in the Leisure and Hospitality industry has increased by 3.03 percent over the last month and 3.15 percent over the last year.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates were Shelby County at 4.6 percent, Coffee County at 5.3 percent, Lee County at 5.6 percent and Limestone County at 5.6 percent.

The counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox County at 15.1 percent, Lowndes County at 13.9 percent and Dallas County at 12.2 percent.