County unemployment drops by 1 percent in April

Published 3:28 pm Friday, May 16, 2014

Marengo County’s April unemployment rate is 7.5 percent, down from the March rate of 8.5 percent and up from April 2013’s rate of 7.2 percent.

The county’s rate represents 556 residents out of work.

The work force in Marengo County decreased from 7,545 in March to 7,399 in April.

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 ranging from .4 percent (Winston County) to 1.2 percent (Perry County).

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, the professional and business services sector and the construction sector, among others.

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 15,200, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector, education and health services sector, and the trade, transportation and utilities sector, 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 added. “All of these things point to a much healthier job market than we have seen in some time.”

JobLink, the state’s online free jobs database (www.joblink.alabama.gov), registered a record 23,691 active job orders in April. The Help Wanted Online (HWOL) data showed 57,396 total job ads were placed online in Alabama, up 17.8 percent from March. The most advertised careers are: heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, first line supervisors of retail workers and registered nurses.

There were 15,024 initial unemployment compensation claims and benefit payments totaled $22,821,948, the lowest amounts in five years.

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