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Local jobless claims rise slightly in December

Published 5:04pm Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Unemployment rates for the month of December were released on Friday and showed Franklin County had a slight increase in jobless claims during the past month.

Franklin County’s unemployment rate rose to 6.9 percent in December, up slightly from November’s rate of 6.6 percent.

That total represents 870 local residents who filed unemployment claims, which is an increase from the 843 people who filed claims the previous month. However, it’s 61 fewer people than it was at this same time last year.

Even though jobless claims rose slightly in Franklin County, the unemployment rate statewide was lower in December than it’s been in five years.

Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said that Alabama’s December 2013 preliminary unemployment rate is 6.1 percent, down from November’s rate of 6.2%, and below December 2012’s rate of 6.8%.

December’s rate represents 129,743 unemployed persons, down from 132,301 in November, and 145,613 in December 2012.

The last time the state’s unemployment rate was at or below 6.1 percent was in October 2008 when the rate was 5.9 percent.

“While we are certainly pleased to announce that our unemployment rate is at a five year low, we know that we are not in a perfect situation, employment wise,” Surtees said.

“There are still more than 120,000 Alabamians who want a job, and we must focus our efforts on helping those people find work.

“We continue to see record numbers of job orders on the state’s free online jobs database, www.joblink.alabama.gov, and I’d like to personally encourage anyone who is searching for a job to visit the site, or, for more personalized and targeted assistance, visit their local career center.”

Approximately 18,000 active job orders were placed on JobLink in December, and nearly 50,000 job ads were placed online statewide over various online job sites, including JobLink.

Free services provided at Alabama’s career centers include: résumé assistance, job search assistance, educational assistance, job training, and many other services.

A listing of career centers can be found at www.labor.alabama.gov or on JobLink.

“Although we saw a slight decrease in the number of jobs in the economy in December, over the year, we saw a gain of more than 10,000 jobs,” Surtees said.

“Our manufacturing industry continues to grow at one of the best rates in the country, adding nearly 6,000 jobs to Alabama’s economy in 2013.”

Wage and salary employment decreased 1,400 from November to December 2013, but increased 10,500 over the past 12 months. The industries with the largest increases were: manufacturing (+5,900), leisure and hospitality (+5,600), trade, transportation, and utilities (+3,900), and construction (+400).

“Alabama’s unemployment rate is 6.1 percent, marking a five-year low,” Gov. Robert Bentley said.

“There are 59,400 more jobs today in Alabama than there were in January of 2011, with the greatest job growth coming from the manufacturing sector.

“There are over 40,000 new, future jobs coming to Alabama. We’re announcing new, well-paying jobs in six locations across the state this month alone.

“The University of Alabama’s Center for Business and Economic Research just last week released its economic forecast which predicts greater growth and an estimated 25,000 jobs to be added in 2014.

“This is all great news for Alabamians who need a well-paying job, but I won’t be satisfied until every person who wants a job can get a job in this state.”

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates in December are: Shelby County at 3.8 percent, Lee County at 4.7 percent, and Cullman and St. Clair counties at 4.8 percent.

The counties with the highest unemployment rates in November are: Wilcox County at 14.2 percent, Bullock County at 11.6 percent, and Perry County at 11.4 percent.

In northwest Alabama, the reported totals were: Lauderdale County at 5.4 percent, Colbert County at 5.9 percent, Lawrence County at 6.3 percent, Marion County at 7.0 percent and Winston County at 8.2 percent.

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