County’s unemployment shows slight increase

Published 2:41 pm Friday, January 22, 2016

Chilton County’s unemployment rate increased slightly for December 2015, according to information released on Friday by the office of Gov. Robert Bentley.

The county’s preliminary unemployment rate of 5.4 percent for December 2015 was up 0.2 percent from the November 2015 rate of 5.2 percent and up from the December 2014 rate of 5.1 percent.

The state’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted December 2015 unemployment rate is 6.2 percent.

“In January 2015, economists predicted that wage and salary employment would grow in Alabama by 33,800 in 2015, and we surpassed that number by more than 10,000 jobs,” Bentley said in a release. “Employers are hiring in Alabama, and these numbers prove it. We will continue our efforts to recruit and add jobs to the economy in 2016.”

“Although a slight increase in the unemployment rate is never celebrated, this month’s increase is attributed to the fact that the labor force increased by nearly 10,000, while people were out looking for work, seasonal or otherwise,” Alabama Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington said in a release. “December’s labor force count was on par with the summer months, which is traditionally when the most people are searching for work. Increases in the labor force represent increased confidence in the job market.”

The civilian labor force measured 2,154,771 in December, up from 2,145,762 in November, and significantly up from 2,130,694 in December 2014 (seasonally adjusted).

Wage and salary employment increased by 45,500 from January 2015.

Over the past 12 months (December 2014 to December 2015), gains were experienced in the education and health services sector (5,100), the leisure and hospitality sector (4,800), the trade, transportation and utilities sector (4,500) and the construction sector (4,000), among others.

“The construction sector has experienced its best year in five years,” Washington said in the release. “Construction employment is a great indicator of economic health: construction doesn’t drive the economy, but the economy drives construction.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby County at 4.1 percent, Elmore and Lee counties at 4.9 percent and Autauga, Cullman and St. Clair counties at 5.0 percent.