Dallas County, among counties with the highest unemployment

Published 8:32pm Friday, June 21, 2013

MONTGOMERY – Although Gov. Robert Bentley announced Friday that Alabama’s preliminary May unemployment rate is down 6.8 percent from April’s rate of 6.9 percent, Dallas County remains among the top three counties with the highest unemployment rates with a rate of 12.5 percent — only ranking higher than Perry County which had a 12.6 percent unemployment rate and Wilcox County at 14.7 percent.

Overall the state is still below last year’s unemployment rate of 7.5 percent, as this year May represents 147,788 unemployed persons, compared to 150,401 last month and 161,848 in May of 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, while 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,” Bentley said. “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 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 in benefit payments, and the number of weeks compensated 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, while the number of weeks compensated in May of 2013 were 103,274, compared to a high of 338,564, also in June of 2009.

Surtees said Alabama is beginning to see increases in the number of retail jobs and jobs related to tourism.

“We expect these numbers to increase as the summer continues and seasonal employers hire more people for the busy summer season,” Surtees said, noting the manufacturing and construction industries are also gaining jobs, indicating healthy economic growth.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby County at 4.3 percent, Blount and Lee Counties at 5.0 percent and Autauga and Cullman Counties at 5.4 percent. And the counties with the highest unemployment rates include Wilcox County at 14.7 percent, Perry County at 12.6 percent and Dallas County at 12.5 percent.

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