Unemployment rate improves in Dallas County

Published 10:52 pm Monday, March 17, 2014

The Alabama Department of Labor’s January 2014 unemployment rate report places Dallas County near the bottom, but shows a slight decrease in the number of unemployed since January 2013.

Dallas County’s unemployment rate in January equaled 12.6 percent in January 2014 — only higher than Bullock at 12.7 percent, Perry at 13.2 percent and Wilcox at 16.4 percent — according to the report.

The January ranking is a slight increase in unemployment from December 2013, but a decrease from January 2013.

The report states Dallas County’s total, civilian labor force for January 2014 at 13,820, with 1,735 being unemployed.

Selma-Dallas County Economic Development Director Wayne Vardaman characterized the figures as encouraging.

“We have been at the same spot in the ranking, or close to it, for as long as I can remember,” Vardaman said. “It has waxed and waned. Our unemployment numbers aren’t exactly where they need to be, but when we compare it to last year, it’s a positive sign.”

In a news release, labor commissioner Tom Surtees announced Alabama’s overall January 2014 unemployment rate was 6.1 percent.

“Looking at the seasonally adjusted numbers, we saw growth in both the labor force and the number of people working in Alabama in January, and those are positive signs,” Surtees said. “Although the number of jobs reported decreased, this is a common occurrence in January, and is due, in large part, to retailers laying off seasonal help.

The overall number of people working in Alabama in January 2014 increased more than 5,000 from December 2013.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates for January were Shelby County at 4.6 percent and Lee County at 5.5 percent. Limestone and Cullman Counties tied for third.

best at 5.8 percent.