May unemployment rate shows slight increase

Published 2:47 pm Friday, June 21, 2013

Chilton County’s preliminary unemployment rate for May increased by 0.3 percent with a rate of 5.6 percent.

The increased rate follows the revised April rate of 5.3 percent and is the first increase since February.

However, statewide unemployment rates for May decreased by 0.1 percent with a rate of 6.8 percent, down from the April rate of 6.9 percent and below the 2012 May rate of 7.5 percent.

May’s rate represents 147,788 unemployed people, compared to 150,401 last month and 161,848 in May 2012.

The seasonally-adjusted employment numbers continue to show growth in Alabama’s labor force and the number of people employed, along with a decrease in the number of people unemployed.

The number of people in the labor force in May of 2013 increased to 2,181,316 up from 2,177,714 in April.

The number of people employed in May increased to 2,033,528, up from 2,027,313 in April.

“We are continuing to move in the right direction and we are working every day to recruit more jobs to Alabama,” Gov. Robert Bentley said in a press release. “For example, I met with leaders from dozens of aerospace companies this week at the Paris Air Show and we discussed our efforts to grow Alabama’s aviation industry and create more jobs. We’re also moving forward with our Accelerate Alabama plan, which focuses not only on aviation, but also on several other industries that are ready for growth here in Alabama.”

Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said in a release the past four months have shown growth in the labor force and growth in employment.

Three of those months had reductions in unemployment as well.

“Our unemployment performance measures are at five-year lows: first-time filers, the amount being paid benefit payments and the number of weeks compensate are all at their lowest points in years,” Surtees said.

Initial claims in May of 2013 were 20,553, compared to a high of 66,249 in December of 2008. Benefit payments were $21,180,026 in May of 2013, compared to a high of $69,844,961 in June of 2009. The number of weeks compensated in May of 2013 were 103,274 compared to a high of 338,564, also in June of 2009.

Wage and Salary employment increased in May by 7,000.

The largest increase was in the leisure and hospitality industry (4,200). There were also increases in the following industries: professional and business services (1,900), other services (1,000), construction (800), trade, transportation and utilities (800), manufacturing (400), information (300) and financial activities (300).

“We are also beginning to see increases in the number of retail jobs and jobs related to tourism,” Surtees said in a release. “We expect these numbers to increase as the summer continues and seasonal employers hire more people for the busy summer season. The manufacturing and construction industries are also gaining jobs, indicating healthy economic growth.”

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates were, Shelby County with 4.3 percent, Blount and Lee counties at 5.0 percent and Autauga and Cullman counties at 5.4 percent.

The counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox County at 14.7 percent, Perry County at 12.6 percent and Dallas County at 12.5 percent.