February unemployment rate continues to increase

Published 1:18 pm Friday, March 29, 2013

Chilton County’s preliminary unemployment rate for February shows an increase of 0.1 percent with a rate of 7.4 percent.

This is the second increase with January’s rate being 7.3 percent after December 2012 rates were at 6.0 percent.

The statewide preliminary rates for February are 7.2 percent that is up 0.3 percent from January’s rate of 6.9 percent.

The Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees announced Friday that the statewide preliminary unemployment rate for February is equal to February 2012’s adjusted rate.

February’s 2013 statewide rate represents 154,885 unemployed people compared to 155,673 unemployed people from February 2012.

“While we did experience a slight uptick in the unemployment rate this month, we also saw an increase in the number of people working, both over the past month and the past year,” Surtees said in a release. “We’ve also seen an increase in the number of people in the labor force. This tells us that some people are regaining confidence in the job market and are looking for work again.”

The number of people employed in February was 2,002,810 that was up from 1,999,493 in January and also up from 2,000,021 in February 2012.

The Civilian Labor Force (CLF is made up of people who have a job or are seeking a job) increased in February to 2,157,695, up from 2,148,156 in January. It is also above the 2,155,694 recorded in February 2012.

“Going hand in hand with the increases in the number of employed, we are also seeing increases in the number of jobs in several sectors, including manufacturing and leisure and hospitality,” Surtees said. “Additionally, initial unemployment compensation claims were down by more than 50 percent from last month. This represents stabilization in initial claims as the expected loss from seasonal hiring and temporary shutdowns begins to wane.”

Wage and salary employment increased 15,300 over the month. Increases were seen in the following sectors statewide: government, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, educational and health services, manufacturing and construction among others. The only sector to lose jobs over the month was financial activities.

There were 17,108 initial unemployment compensation claims in February, compared to 34,560 in January. This is also below the 18,289 initial claims reported in February 2012.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates in February are Shelby County at 5.6 percent, Lee County at 6.5 percent and Blount County at 6.5 percent. The counties with the highest unemployment rates in February are: Wilcox County at 17.6 percent, Lowndes County at 14.5 percent and Dallas County at 13.8 percent.