Archived Story

County jobless rate drops, state rises

Published 11:22am Monday, September 23, 2013

The state’s unemployment rate edged higher to 6.3 percent in August, a “not uncommon” result for the final month of the summer, said state Labor Director Tom Surtees.
There was actually a decrease of nearly 500 actual unemployed Alabamians, he said, but the shrinking of the labor market as students returned to school skewed the numbers higher.
“Alabama’s August unemployment rate doesn’t really show much change over the month,” said Surtees. “While we saw a slight increase in jobs, we didn’t really see much change in the number of people who remain unemployed. Getting these people back to work continues to be our top priority.”
The job situation in Tallapoosa County, however, improved noticeably, with the unemployment rate falling to 7.7 percent from an adjusted July figure of 8.9 percent. The 1.2 percent improvement represented 233 fewer unemployed Tallapoosa County residents. A drop in the civilian labor force, or CLF, aided the improvement, as the county workforce fell by almost 400 residents.
The overall situation was much improved from a year ago, though, when Tallapoosa County unemployment topped 9 percent in August.
Statewide, the CLF or the number of people who are able and looking for work, was 2,149,716 in August, compared to 2,159,298 in July and 2,157,965 last year. The number of people employed was 2,015,349 compared to 2,024,451 and 1,996,530 last year.
“Although the numbers indicate that fewer people are actively looking for jobs this month, this is somewhat expected at this time of year,” continued Surtees. “It is not uncommon for the labor force to decline in August, as students leave the labor market to go to school, and those in the education field return to work. We are encouraged by the fact that nearly 20,000 more people are working this August than were last August.”
Shelby County at 4.5 percent, Lee County at 5.5 and Cullman and Baldwin counties at 5.6.
The counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox County at 16 percent, Dallas County at 14.1 and Perry County at 14.0.

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