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Unemployment rates drop in April

Published 2:59pm Monday, May 19, 2014

Unemployment rates for the month of April were recently released and showed Franklin County had decrease in unemployment from March to April.

Franklin County’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent in April, which was a decrease from March’s rate of 8.5 percent.

That total represents 954 local residents who are reported to be unemployed, which is a decrease from 1,083 people the previous month. However, it’s 95 more people than it was at the same time last year.

Even though Franklin County saw a decrease in unemployment, the statewide unemployment rate was reported to be slightly higher than the previous month.

Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees announced Friday that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted April unemployment rate is 6.9 percent, up from March’s rate of 6.7 percent, and above April 2013’s rate of 6.5 percent.

April’s rate represents 147,341 unemployed persons, compared to 144,447 in March and 139,322 in April 2013.

“Seasonal adjustment certainly played a role in this month’s unemployment rate increase,” Surtees said.

“The state data did not meet seasonal expectations, while at the same time, only one of Alabama’s 67 counties showed an increase in their rate this month. The state data are seasonally adjusted while the county data are not. However, this is an estimate and will probably be revised as the seasonal factors become more quantifiable as the year goes on.”

Only Greene County registered an increase in their unemployment rate, while all other counties saw declines.

Wage and salary employment increased in April by 10,000, rising to 1,920,600. Monthly gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector (+4,700), the professional and business services sector (+2,900), and the construction sector (+600), among others.

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 15,200, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+6,200), education and health services sector (+3,900), and the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+3,300), among others.

“Other facts are more promising: there is a significant increase, both over the month and over the year, in the number of jobs employers are reporting, we are registering record numbers of job orders on JobLink, online job ads are up over 17 percent, and initial unemployment compensation claims and payments remain at five year lows,” Surtees said. “All of these things point to a much healthier job market than we have seen in some time.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 4.2 percent, Lee County at 4.9 percent, and Cullman County at 5.1percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 15.5 percent, Greene County at 12.7 percent, and Perry County at 11.9 percent.

In northwest Alabama, the reported unemployment totals were: Lauderdale County at 5.9 percent, Colbert County at 6.9 percent, Lawrence County at 7.5 percent, Marion County at 8.0 percent and Winston County at 8.7 percent.

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