County unemployment down from August, up from September

Published 12:42 pm Monday, November 25, 2013

The Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees announced Alabama’s September unemployment rate and October’s preliminary rate last week, and Marengo County’s numbers dropped from August to September before going up slightly from September to October.

Marengo’s jobless rate now stands at 7.7 percent, up from 7.6 percent in September, but down from 8.2 percent in August. October’s numbers represent 575 county residents out of work.

In September, the statewide seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.4 percent, up from August’s revised rate of 6.2 percent. This represents 136,716 unemployed persons, up from 134,287 in August, and significantly lower than the 157,360 reported unemployed in September 2012.

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October’s preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 6.5 percent. October’s rate represents 138,029 unemployed persons, up from 136,716 in September, and, again, significantly lower than the 152,957 reported in October 2012.

“This is a unique situation in that we have never experienced a reporting period quite like this one,” said Surtees. “Obviously, the federal government shutdown impacted many jobs in Alabama. It also affected the numbers and how they were reported. Thousands of Alabamians were out of work in October due to the shutdown, and therefore affected our unemployment rate.”

“Our department estimates that there are approximately 40,000 federal employees in Alabama. During the shutdown, nearly 2,000 filed initial unemployment compensation claims, but thousands more did not,” Surtees continued. “Whether they didn’t file because they knew they would be later paid, or for some other reason, we can’t really know. When they file claims, they are traceable to some extent. The problem arose when the federal government conducted its monthly employment surveys and found discrepancies in the ways these federal government workers answered employment questions.”

Counties with the highest unemployment in October were Wilcox at 15.5 percent, Bullock at 13.2 percent, and Dallas at 13 percent.

Counties with the lowest unemployment were Shelby at 4.3 percent, Lee at 5.1 percent, and Cherokee at 5.4 percent.