Unemployment rate continues downward trend

Published 6:28 pm Friday, May 17, 2013

Chilton County’s preliminary unemployment rate for April decreased again, this time by 0.9 percent with a rate of 5.3 percent.

The decreased rate follows the revised March rate of 6.2 percent and is the second decrease this year after February’s rate was 7.4 percent and January’s was 7.3 percent.

Statewide unemployment rates for April also decreased by 0.3 percent with a rate of 6.9 percent, down from the March rate of 7.2 percent and below the 7.4 percent recorded in April 2012.

April’s rate represents 150,503 unemployed people in the state, compared to 155,011 in March and 158,749 in April 2012.

“The labor force increased, meaning more people are regaining confidence in the job market,” Gov. Robert Bentley said in a release. “Also, the number of people employed increased, meaning more people have jobs and the number of people who are unemployed decreased. I am encouraged to see these improvements and I will continue my efforts to recruit more jobs until everyone who needs a job is able to find one.”

The number of people in the civilian labor force increased in April to 2,177,865, up from 2,164,537 last month and up from 2,157,873 in April 2012. The number of people employed increased to 2,027,362, up from 2,009,526 in March and 1,999,124 last year.

The number of people unemployed dropped to 150,503 from 155,011 in March and 158,749 last year.

“Like last month, the positives continued to increase for Alabama’s counties,” Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said in a release. “All of the counties saw drops in their rates, including a significant drop of 2.4 percentage points in Lowndes County’s rate. In addition, we saw an increase of nearly 10,000 jobs in the state, with some industries that had been previously lagging showing some real improvement, like construction.”

Wage and salary employment, totaling 1,898,100 in April, comma increased 9,700 over the month. Industries gaining jobs were leisure and hospitality (7,100), construction (2,200) and professional and business services (1,400) among others.

Chilton County Industrial Development Coordinator Fred Crawford said several of the industrial businesses throughout the county have been hiring temporary employees that have now passed the temporary phase into full-time.

“I think this has added to the decreased unemployment rate the last two months,” Crawford said. “The other reason is there are quite a few people in the housing construction business. These two factors contribute to the unemployment rate continuing to decline.”

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates were Shelby County at 4.0 percent, Lee County at 4.9 percent and Blount County at 5.0 percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox County at 14.8 percent, Perry County at 11.7 percent and Dallas County at 11.4 percent.