Alabama's unemployment rate rises to 7.2% in February - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Alabama's unemployment rate rises to 7.2% in February

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Tom Surtees, with the Alabama Department of Labor, has announced that the state's preliminary unemployment rate for February is 7.2%, which represents 154,855 unemployed persons.  This is an increase from January's unemployment rate of 6.9%. Alabama's unemployment rate a year ago was also 7.2%.

 "While we did experience a slight up tick in the unemployment rate this month, we also saw an increase in the number of people working, both over the past month and the past year," said Surtees. "We've also seen an increase in the number of people in the labor force. This tells us that some people are regaining confidence in the job market and are looking for work again."

Surtees goes on to explain that the state is seeing the number of jobs increase in several sectors, including manufacturing, and leisure and hospitality.

 "Additionally, initial unemployment compensation claims were down by more than fifty percent from last month. This represents stabilization in initial claims as the expected loss from seasonal hiring and temporary shutdowns begin to wane," Surtees continued.

Unemployment compensation claims are also down, with 17,108 claims made in February, as compared to 34,560 in January.  This number is also lower than the 18,289 claims reported in February 2012.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates in February are: Shelby County at 5.6%, Lee County at 6.4%, and Blount County at 6.5%. The counties with the highest unemployment rates in February are: Wilcox County at 17.6%, Lowndes County at 14.5%, and Dallas County at 13.8%.

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