On Monday, Gov. Robert Bentley announced that Alabama’s January unemployment rate came in at 6.2 percent, a slight increase over the 6 percent in December.
The Civilian Labor Force (CLF) increased by more than 8,000, bringing the state’s CLF total to 2,154,061. Similarly, the number of employed Alabamians increased by about the same margins, bringing the total of people employed to its highest number since October 2008.
Wage and salary employment came in at 1,930,300, the highest number since January 2008. Overall, such employment has increased by more than 18,000, with significant increases seen in the education and health services sector (more than 5,700); the trade, transportation and utilities sector (more than 5,400); and the professional and business services sector (more than 4,600).
The counties with the lowest unemployment rates include Shelby at 4.5 percent, Elmore and Lee at 5.3 percent, and Autauga and St. Clair at 5.4 percent. However, a number of Alabama counties are still seeing unemployment rates over 10 percent, including Clarke (12.4 percent), Greene (10.8 percent), Lowndes (12 percent), Monroe (10.3), Perry (10.1 percent), and Wilcox (16 percent).
Of Alabama’s 67 counties, only 20 are below the state’s unemployment rate. Of the remaining 47 counties, 42 have unemployment rates higher than the state average.
“January’s rate contains some interesting and positive data,” Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington said in a news release. “There is almost no change in the rate, mainly due to the fact that there were more people in the labor force and more people were employed. These are both good signs, because it means that people are continuing to display confidence in the economy and that they are able to find work. In fact, the number of people counted as employed in January is higher than it has been since October 2008.”
“We remain committed to lowering Alabama’s unemployment rate, but we are even more committed to making sure that every Alabamian who wants a job has the opportunity to have one,” Bentley said in the release. “We are making significant progress towards that goal. This month’s jobs numbers are showing some of the best growth we have seen in years, and we are encouraged by the momentum. We will not stop in our mission to bring quality jobs to Alabama, and help our existing businesses become even more successful.”