State’s jobless rate rises in February

Published 9:04 am Thursday, April 4, 2013

Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees announced  last week that Alabama’s preliminary February unemployment rate is 7.2 percent, up from January’s rate of 6.9 percent, and equal to February 2012’s adjusted rate. February’s rate represents 154,885  unemployed persons, compared to 148,663 last month, and 155,673 last year.

“While we did experience a slight uptick in the unemployment rate this month, we also saw an  increase in the number of people working, both over the past month and the past year,” said  Surtees.  “We’ve also seen an increase in the number of people in the labor force. This tells us  that some people are regaining confidence in the job market and are looking for work again.”

The number of people employed in February was 2,002,810, up from 1,999,493 in January, and  also up from 2,000,021 in February 2012.

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The Civilian Labor Force (CLF), increased in February to 2,157,695, up from 2,148,156 in  January.  It is also above the 2,155,694 recorded in February 2012.  The CLF is made up of  people who have a job or are seeking a job.

“Going hand in hand with the increases in the number of employed, we are also seeing increases  in the number of jobs in several sectors, including manufacturing and leisure and hospitality,” continued Surtees.  “Additionally, initial unemployment compensation claims were down by  more than fifty percent from last month.  This represents stabilization in initial claims as the  expected loss from seasonal hiring and temporary shutdowns begins to wane.”

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates in February are: Shelby County at 5.6 percent, Lee  County at 6.4 percent, and Blount County at 6.5 percent.

The counties with the highest unemployment rates  in February are: Wilcox County at 17.6 percent, Lowndes County at 14.5 percent, and Dallas County at 13.8 percent.