County’s jobless rate climbs

Published 4:41 pm Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Butler County’s unemployment rate rose slightly in May, from 8.9 percent to 9.4 percent, according to figures released Friday by the Alabama Department of Labor.

The number of unemployed residents in Butler County jumped from 794 people in April to 849 people in May.

Statewide the unemployment rate dropped from 6.9 percent to 6.8 percent.

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May’s rate represents 147,788 unemployed persons, compared to 150,401 in April.

“We are continuing to move in the right direction, and we are working every day to recruit more jobs to Alabama,” Gov. Bentley said. “For example, I met with leaders from dozens of aerospace companies (last) week at the Paris Air Show, and we discussed our efforts to grow Alabama’s aviation industry and create more jobs. We’re also moving forward with our Accelerate Alabama plan, which focuses not only on aviation, but also on several other industries that are ready for growth here in Alabama.”

Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said the past four months have shown growth in the labor force and growth in employment. Three of those months had reductions in unemployment as well.

“Our unemployment performance measures are at five-year lows: first time filers, the amount being paid in benefit payments, and the number of weeks compensated are all at their lowest points in years,” Surtees said. “We are also beginning to see increases in the number of retail jobs and jobs related to tourism. We expect these numbers to increase as the summer continues and seasonal employers hire more people for the busy summer season,” Surtees added. “The manufacturing and construction industries are also gaining jobs, indicating healthy economic growth.”

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby County at 4.3 percent, Blount and Lee counties at 5 percent, and Autauga and Cullman counties at 5.4 percent.

The counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox County at 14.7 percent, Perry County at 12.6 percent and Dallas County at 12.5 percent.