Archived Story

Unemployment increases

Published 11:14am Thursday, March 21, 2013

County and state jobless rates rise

Tallapoosa County’s unemployment rate increased by 1.4 percent from December 2012 to January 2013, according to the latest numbers released from the Alabama Department of Labor.

The county unemployment rate now stands at 8.9 percent and has a total of 1,509 unemployed persons. The total number of employed persons decreased from 15,881 to 15,460 for the same time period.

The state unemployment rate increased slightly, inching up from 6.8 percent in December 2013 to 6.9 percent for January 2013.

Though the state did see an increase in the unemployment rate for Gov. Robert Bentley said he is encouraged by the larger picture.

“The long-term trend in Alabama’s unemployment rate is encouraging news,” Bentley said. “We have seen a steady decline in unemployment over time. 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.”

January’s rate represents 148,724 unemployed persons, compared to 145,613 in December 2012 and 158,040 in January 2012.

“This is certainly a positive trend,” Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said. “However, we still have more than 140,000 Alabamians who want to work, and we have to remain focused on helping them find and keep a job.”

Additionally, revisions conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor, indicate that 10 months of 2012 actually had lower unemployment rates than were initially reported. August and October 2012 both saw decreases of a full percentage point. The preliminary rate for August was 8.5 percent, which was revised to 7.5 percent, and October’s preliminary rate was 8.1 percent, which was revised to 7.1 percent.

“The revisions point to conclusions that we’ve been advocating for a while,” 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.”

Initial unemployment compensation claims remain below 2009 levels. In January, initial claims numbered 34,560, compared to 61,033 in 2009. In 2008, the figure was 35,766.

Active job orders placed by employers on the state’s online jobs database numbered 15,253, which remain at an all-time high.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 5.4 percent, Blount County at 6.4 percent and Madison County at 6.6 percent. Counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox County at 17.4 percent and Lowndes County at 14.5 percent.

February’s unemployment rate will be released  March 29.