Alabama’s unemployment rate stable at 6.1 percent

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According to the office of Gov. Robert Bentley and state Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington, Alabama is making gains in key economic indicators, despite a small increase in the gross unemployment rate.

Unemployment in the Yellowhammer State is running at a seasonally adjusted rate of 6.1 percent. That’s a good thing, argued Washington in a news release issued Friday,

“Although we experienced an increase in our unemployment rate this month, the news is not bad,” Washington said. “Both employment measures (wages and job growth) registered gains, which is clear evidence that Alabamians are going back to work. We haven’t seen wage and salary employment this high in May since 2008. Additionally, household employment also increased by more than 47,000 since last year.”

According to the governor’s office, the gains were primarily located in the “professional and business services” sector and (things like tax preparation and legal counsel, which accounted for 2,700 new jobs), followed by hospitality and leisure (up 1,900 jobs) and commercial and utility concerns (up 1,700 positions).

The 6.1 percent figure is compared to a 5.5 percent unemployment rate nationally and an April unemployment rate of 5.5

Jobless rates were slightly lower in neighboring Florida (5.7 percent) and slightly higher in Georgia, which also experienced a slight increase up to 6.3 percent. Under the Bentley administration, Alabama has more or less consistently bested both Georgia and neighboring Louisiana, which recorded a 6.6 percent unemployment rate for the third straight month as Gov. Bobby Jindal-driven initiatives seem to be falling flat.

Bentley in his Friday statement portrayed the situation as solid, but with plenty of room to improve. It mirrors the nation as a whole in that regard.

“We continue to see decreases in Alabama’s unemployment rate, and increases in both of our employment measures, which is a testament to the strong economic development efforts we have prioritized,” Bentley said.

“We have gone 16 months with no increase in our unemployment rate. This steady progress is further evidence that, as far as employment indicators go, Alabama has regained its pre-recession standing. My priority as governor remains job creation, and I will continue my effort until every Alabamian who wants a job has the opportunity to have one.”

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