Chilton County’s unemployment rate has dropped

Published 4:54 pm Friday, October 19, 2012

Chilton County’s unemployment rate has dropped 1.5 percent over the past year.

The preliminary rate for September was 6.6 percent that was down from August’s rate of 7.7 percent.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced Friday that Alabama’s preliminary September unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent. The number was down from the August rate of 8.5 percent and below the September 2011 rate of 8.8 percent.

“More Alabamians are working this month, and that is certainly good news for the state,” Bentley said in a release. “We still have a long way to go, and I will continue doing everything I can to put Alabamians back to work.”

Worker Adjustment and Retraining (WARN) notices are required submissions when businesses employing more than 100 are planning a mass layoff or closing. So far this year, the state’s Rapid Response unit has received notification of 3,977 layoffs, compared to

14, 184 in 2009 at the height of the recession. The reduction in these notices indicates that employers are more confident and willing to keep their workforces.

“This drop in the unemployment rate is more consistent with what we’ve been seeing over the past few months, unemployment claims going down, fewer WARN notices, and record numbers of available jobs,” Alabama Department of Labor director Tom Surtees said in a release. The number of initial unemployment claims dropped by 19 percent from last year. There were 18,525 initial claims in September compared to 22,890 in 2011.

The counties with the lowest rates were Shelby County at 5.2 percent, Coffee County at 6.2 percent, and Lee, Limestone and Madison counties at 6.4 percent. The counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox County at 17.8 percent, Bullock County at 15.4 percent; and Dallas County at 15.1 percent.

“As far as unemployment compensation goes, nearly every indicator we measure is well below pre-recession levels,” Surtees said. “Claims data don’t directly impact the unemployment rate, but they do allow us to gauge the frequency with which people are losing their jobs.” Alabama’s online jobs database,, is continuing to see record breaking numbers of jobs, logging a high of 12,764 new job orders in September.

First payments in September were 5,346 below the 2008 level of 10,065. Benefits payments in September were $20,250,885, also below the 2008 level of $28,532,386. Additionally, the number of weeks compensated and the number of weeks claimed followed the same trend, with the 100,128 weeks compensated in September compared to 145,546 in 2008 and 121,910 weeks claimed in September compared to 164,045 in 2008.