• 57°

State, county jobless rates rise

Officials with the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations announced this month that the state’s unemployment rate for May rose to 7.4 percent.

That’s up from 7.2 percent in April.

“While it’s certainly never a good thing to report an increase in the unemployment rate, I have to say this one was expected,” said Tom Surtees, Alabama Department of Industrial Relations director. “We traditionally see an increase in the May and June rates as more people enter the workforce in the form of new graduates and education staff who aren’t working during the summer months. In addition, the national unemployment rate rise slightly, and the states usually follow that lead.”

Butler County’s unemployment rate also rose from 9.9 percent in April to 10.8 percent in May. According to the state’s figures, there are 1,008 residents unemployed in Butler County.

Despite the increase, Butler County’s rate is still an improvement over May of 2011 when the county’s unemployment rate was 11.3 percent.

Surrounding counties also saw a rise in their unemployment figures.

Neighboring Wilcox and Lowndes counties have unemployment rates of 16.2 percent and 15 percent, respectively. Dallas and Monroe counties increased to 13.3 percent and 12.3 percent, while Crenshaw County rose to 6.9 percent.

Shelby County had the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 5.2 percent. Wilcox County’s unemployment rate is the highest in the state.