County’s jobless rate down from previous month and previous year

Published 1:01 pm Friday, March 27, 2015

Employment in Chilton County and the state last month improved significantly.

Chilton County’s preliminary unemployment rate for February was 5.4 percent, according to data released Friday by Gov. Robert Bentley’s office.

The rate decreased from January’s 5.8 percent unemployment, and from February 2014’s 7.4 percent unemployment.

Across the state, the preliminary, seasonally-adjusted jobless rate was 5.8 percent, down from January’s rate of 6 percent and February 2014’s rate of 7.2 percent.

“Alabama’s February unemployment rate is very good news for our state,” Bentley said in a press release. “This month’s drop contributes to the 15-month trend we’ve seen with no increase in unemployment. Over 2 million Alabamians are working – the most since 2008. Our economy supported more jobs in February than it has during the same period since 2008. We also experienced a significant increase in construction jobs, which bodes well for the state’s economic health.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates were Shelby County at 4 percent, Lee County at 4.7 percent and Tuscaloosa County at 4.8 percent.

Unemployment rates for other counties surrounding Chilton were Autauga County at 4.9 percent, Elmore County at 4.9 percent, Bibb County at 6 percent, Coosa County at 7.3 percent, Dallas County at 8.9 percent and Perry County at 9.1 percent.

According to the data released by Bentley’s office, 17,911 Chilton County residents were employed in February, compared to 17,727 residents in January and 17,667 in February 2014.

Preliminary data shows that all 67 counties in Alabama experienced unemployment rate decreases both month over month and year over year.

The household survey indicates that 2,016,508 Alabama residents reported having jobs in February. The last time employment was equal to or above this number was October 2008, when employment totaled 2,021,511.

Wage and salary employment totaled 1,930,900 in February. The last time February’s wage and salary employment was equal to or above that number was in 2008.

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased by 37,900, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (plus-8,600), the professional and business services sector (7,500), and the education and health services sector (5,900), among others. Additionally, wage and salary employment increased in February by 7,600.

Monthly gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector (plus-3,100), the government sector (2,500), and the construction sector (+1,800), among others.

“Another economic indicator shows continued improvement: The number of initial unemployment compensation claims filed in February is the lowest it’s been in 40 years. This tells us that employers are laying off fewer workers than they have in decades,” Alabama Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington said. “The bottom line is that nearly all of our economic indicators are trending in the right direction, and are finally either nearing or surpassing 2008 levels – when the recession truly began to hit Alabama.”

In February, initial claims totaled 12,793. The last time initial claims were this low was in May of 1974. JobLink, the state’s free online jobs database (, registered 20,275 active job orders in February.

The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate across the country was 5.5 percent, down from 5.7 percent in January and 6.7 percent in February 2014.