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Unemployment drops in November

Published 4:01pm Monday, December 23, 2013

Unemployment rates for the month of November were released on Friday and showed Franklin had a significant drop in jobless claims since October.

Franklin County’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent in November, down almost a whole percent from October’s total of 7.6 percent.

That total represents 848 local residents who filed unemployment claims, which is a decrease from the 960 people who filed claims the previous month. It is also 82 fewer people than it was at this same time last year.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley announced that Alabama’s preliminary seasonally adjusted November unemployment rate is 6.2 percent, down from October’s revised rate of 6.4 percent, and even lower than last November’s rate of 6.9 percent.

October’s statewide rate represents 132,381 unemployed persons, down from 137,160 in October, and, again, significantly lower than the 148,956 persons reported in October 2012.

“The long-term trend in Alabama’s unemployment rate is encouraging news for Alabamians who want a job,” Bentley said.

“Every Alabama county has a decrease in their unemployment rate for November, and that is a sign that Alabamians are getting back to work in both rural and urban areas of Alabama.

“There is still much work left to be done, however, until Alabama reaches full employment, and our efforts to recruit more jobs will continue.”

November’s rate represents the third time this year that Alabama’s unemployment rate has been at its lowest in five years.

Both July and August 2013 registered preliminary unemployment rates of 6.2 percent as well. The last time the unemployment rate was at or below 6.2 percent was in October 2008, when the rate was 5.9 percent.

“Not surprisingly, it appears as though seasonal hiring, especially in retail establishments, helped to lower our unemployment rate,” Alabama Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said.

“This traditionally happens during the months of November and December as employers prepare for the Christmas shopping rush.”

Wage and salary employment increased by 4,100 in November, with the majority of the growth in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector, including retail trade, which saw an increase of nearly 8,000 jobs. Growth was also seen in the government, education and health services, and manufacturing sectors.

“The decline in the county unemployment rates, which range from at least a half a percentage point to nearly two, may present a clearer picture of what is actually going on throughout Alabama as the county data are not seasonally adjusted,” Surtees said.

“Seasonal adjustment” refers to BLS’s practice of anticipating certain trends in the labor force, such as hiring during the holidays or the surge in the labor force when students graduate in the spring, and predicting their effects of the unemployment rate.

The not seasonally adjusted data show the number of people working in a county, with no seasonal factors imposed.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates in November are: Shelby County at 3.6 percent, Lee County at 4.5 percent, and Cullman, St. Clair, and Cherokee counties at 4.7 percent.

The counties with the highest unemployment rates in November are: Wilcox County at 13.9 percent, Bullock County at 11.9 percent, and Perry and Dallas counties at 11.1 percent.

In northwest Alabama, the reported totals were: Lauderdale County at 5.2 percent, Colbert County at 5.7 percent, Lawrence County at 6.3 percent, Marion County at 7.0 percent and Winston County at 8.3 percent.

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