Jobless rate stays under 7 percent

Published 11:38am Thursday, March 21, 2013

Gov. Robert Bentley announced the “encouraging news” that the state’s unemployment rate stayed below 7 percent for a second month in January, despite an increase in Alabamians out of work.
The 6.9 percent January figure represents 148,724 people out of work, up from 145,613 in December, when the jobless rate dipped to 6.8 percent. Almost 10,000 fewer were unemployed in January than the same period in 2012, though.
“We have seen a steady decline in unemployment over time,” Bentley said. “Dozens of industries are choosing to build and expand in Alabama, and the result is more people are going back to work. There is still much work left to be done, however, until Alabama reaches full employment, and our efforts to recruit more jobs will continue.”
Elmore County’s jobless rate spiked more than a percentage point to 7.3, from December’s revised 6.2 percent figure. According to the Department of Labor, 2,536 county residents received or applied for unemployment compensation in January, up almost 400 from December.
Revisions conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics found that in Alabama 10 months of 2012 data had lower unemployment rates than what was initially reported. The December rate, originally reported at 7.1 percent, was adjusted down to 6.8.
The release of jobless data for the first three month of the year is delayed annually by “benchmarking” at the state and national labor departments.
“The revisions point to conclusions that we’ve been advocating for a while,” Labor Director Tom Surtees said. “We have seen a pattern of lower initial unemployment compensation claims, increased numbers of active job orders on our jobs database, and fewer companies are reporting layoffs. These factors all contribute to a better employment picture in the state.”
5.4 percent, Blount at 6.4 and Madison at 6.6. Counties with the highest jobless rates are Wilcox at 17.4, Lowndes at 14.5 and Bullock, Perry, and Dallas counties at 13.9.

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