Preliminary unemployment rate shows slight increase

Published 4:03 pm Monday, March 18, 2013

For the first time since October 2012, Chilton County’s preliminary unemployment rate has increased.

In December 2012, the unemployment rate was 6.0 percent but the preliminary unemployment rate for January 2013 indicates a slight incline at 7.3 percent.

The rate is above the preliminary rate for the state at 6.9 percent, which marks the second month the state’s unemployment rate is below 7 percent when factoring in revised figures from December.

“The long-term trend in Alabama’s unemployment rate is encouraging news,” Gov. Robert Bentley said in a press release. “We have seen a steady decline in unemployment over time. Dozens of industries are choosing to build and expand in Alabama and the result is more people are going back to work. There is still much work left to be done, however, until Alabama reaches full employment our efforts to recruit more jobs will continue.”

The state rate for January represents 148,724 unemployed people compared to 145,613 people in December and 158,040 in January 2012.

The state rate is slightly up from the December 2012 revised rate of 6.8 percent when the preliminary rate was originally announced at 7.1 percent.

The revised rate for January 2012 was 7.3 percent.

“This is certainly a positive trend,” Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said in a press release. “However, we still have more than 140,000 Alabamians who want work and we have to remain focused on helping them find and keep a job.”

Revisions conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, indicate that 10 months of 2012 had lower unemployment rates than were initially reported.

August and October 2012 both saw decreases of a full percentage point. The preliminary rate for August was 8.5 percent and later revised to 7.5 percent, October’s preliminary rate was 8.1 percent and revised to 7.1 percent.

“The revisions point to conclusions that we’ve been advocating for a while,” Surtees said. “We have seen a pattern of lower initial unemployment compensation claims, increased numbers of active job orders on our jobs database and fewer companies are reporting layoffs. These factors all contribute to a better employment picture in the state.”

Initial unemployment compensation claims remain below 2009 levels that numbered 61,033 compared to the initial claims of January numbering to 34,560.

In 2008, the figure for initial claims was 35,766.

According to the press release, active job orders placed by employers on the state’s online jobs database, indicate an all-time high at 15,253.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 5.4 percent, Blount County at 6.4 percent and Madison County at 6.6 percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates are, Wilcox County at 17.4 percent, Lowndes County at 14.5 percent and Bullock, Perry and Dallas counties at 13.9 percent.