Preliminary unemployment rate shows slight decrease for March

Published 2:20 pm Friday, April 19, 2013

Chilton County’s preliminary unemployment rate for March shows a slight decrease from the last two months with a decrease of 1.2 percent and a rate of 6.2 percent.

The decrease comes after recent months have shown increases in the unemployment rate with February’s rate being 7.4 percent and January’s rate being 7.3 percent.

The statewide preliminary rates for March 2013 are 7.2 percent, a rate that has not changed from February’s rate or from the March 2012 rate that was also 7.2 percent.

The Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees announced today that Alabama’s preliminary March 2013 rate represents 155,071 unemployed people, compared to 154,790 last month and 156,224 last year.

“This month we continued to see the labor force grow, which tells us that more people are regaining confidence in the job market,” Surtees said in a release. “We also saw the number of people with jobs grow by nearly 7,000, with only a slight increase in the number of unemployed. Even though the rate didn’t decrease, these are still positive signs.”

The civilian labor force increased in March to 2,164,497, up from 2,157,556 in February and 2,156,362 last year. The number of employed people rose to 2,009,426 that was up from 2,002,766 in February and 2,000,138 last year.

“We always urge people to look at trends in the unemployment numbers, rather than simply looking at only the monthly data in order to get a better picture of the job market,” Surtees said. “For example, we’ve seen consistent increases in the number of people employed since August of last year—with the exception of January, which is to be expected as holiday hiring winds down.”

Surtees added that 66 of 67 counties, along with all of the state’s metropolitan areas, saw unemployment rates drop in March. Lamar County saw a drop as large as 1.9 percent.

“This is great news,” Surtees said.

Eight Alabama counties saw decreases in their unemployment rates of 1.5 percent or greater including, Barbour, Bullock, Choctaw, Cleburne, Conecuh, Lamar, Marion and Winston counties.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby County at 4.7 percent, Blount County at 5.6 percent and Lee County at 5.8 percent. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox County at 16.4 percent, Lowndes County at 13.4 percent and Dallas County at 12.8 percent.