State jobless rate holds steady

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Each day all over the state of Alabama people are going to work. While this may sound like a simple statement it is actually a great accomplishment when you look at the numbers. The jobless rate for the state is below five percent once again giving leaders a positive outlook.

Alabama’s May jobless rate of 4.4 percent remained unchanged from its April totals and below the 5.7 percent rate posted in May of 2004. While the numbers did not change they still reflected the states progress in the last year by not taking a step backward.

Phyllis Kennedy, director of the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations, said this month’s numbers are slightly lower than the average for 2005.

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“Through five months in 2005, the state’s average jobless rate is 4.8 percent,” Kennedy said. “The May rate represents 95,124 unemployed persons compared to 94,447 in April and 121,785 in May 2004.”

Jay Shows, President of the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce, said the declining rate throughout the year has shown Alabama’s willingness to move forward and become a factor in the nations economy.

“I am very pleased to know that Alabama is staying below five percent,” Shows said. “It just shows that Alabama is positioning itself to be a world player.”

Shows said he has noticed many positive changes across the state and said the numbers are reflecting this.

“Things seem to be going well around the state from reports that I get,” Shows said. “Of course there is the automotive industry and the state docks seem to be in position to expand as well.”

The comparable national rate for May is 5.1 percent, which declined from Aprils 5.2 percent rate and is below the 5.6 percent rate in May 2004.

In the last year there was a net gain of 30,300 jobs in wage and salary employment. The majority of the annual growth occurred in professional and business services, plus 8,100, followed by manufacturing, plus 5,700, trade, plus 5,600, educational and health services, plus 5,300, construction, plus 3,600 and leisure and hospitality, plus 2,400.

The highest losses were recorded in other services, minus 900, financial activities, minus 800 and information, minus 600.

Alabama’s unemployment rates for the past five months have been 4.4percent for May, 4.4 percent for April, 4.7 percent for March, 5.2 percent for February and 5.3 percent for January.