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Unemployment rises slightly

Published 4:31pm Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Unemployment rates for the month of February were recently released and showed Franklin County had a slight increase in unemployment from January to February.

Franklin County’s unemployment rate rose to 9.5 percent in February, which was a slight increase from January’s rate of 9.4 percent.

That total represents 1,218 local residents who are reported to be unemployed, which is an increase from 1,194 people the previous month. It’s also 148 more people than it was at the same time last year.

Like Franklin County, the statewide unemployment rate was also higher than the previous month.

Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees announced Friday that Alabama’s preliminary seasonally adjusted February unemployment rate is 6.4 percent, up from January’s rate of 6.1 percent, but below the February 2013 rate of 6.6percent.

February’s rate represents 137,256 unemployed persons, compared to 130,456 in January, and 142,855 in February 2013.

“Although we saw an uptick in the state’s unemployment rate, we also saw an increase in the number of people working, as well as the number of people in the labor force,” Surtees said.

“These indicators, combined with an increase in the number of jobs reported by employers, tell me that more people are out in the workforce – either looking for jobs or working, and that is certainly good news.”

In February, the number of people working in Alabama increased to 1,996,720 from 1,990,938 in January (seasonally adjusted).

The Civilian Labor Force, or people who are either working or actively seeking work, increased to 2,133,976 from 2,121,394 in January (seasonally adjusted).

Wage and salary employment, which is the measure of how many jobs Alabama’s economy supports and is reported by employers, increased by 8,700 over the month. Gains were seen in the professional and business services sector (+3,000), the government sector (+2,700), the education and health services sector (+1,600), and the leisure and hospitality sector (+1,200), among others.

“Additionally, we continue to see high numbers of jobs posted on JobLink, the state’s free online jobs database, and online ads for jobs statewide top 48,000,” Surtees continues.

“Just this week, we announced that we would be offering additional career center services in Lowndes County, which has one of the higher unemployment rates in the state. Hopefully the free services offered there will help the unemployed citizens in that area get back to work.”

There were 18,955 active job orders placed on JobLink in February. The Help Wanted Online (HWOL) data show that 48,213 job ads were placed online in February.

A complete listing of career centers is available at www.joblink.alabama.gov.

Counties with lowest unemployment rates for the month of February are: Shelby County at 5.1 percent, Lee County at 5.9 percent, and Autauga County at 6.3 percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 16.9 percent, Perry County at 13.3 percent, and Dallas County at 13.1 percent.

In northwest Alabama, the reported unemployment totals were: Lauderdale County at 6.9 percent, Colbert County at 7.8 percent, Lawrence County at 7.9 percent, Marion County at 9.2 percent and Winston County at 10.6 percent.

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