Governor Robert Bentley on Friday announced that Alabama's March preliminary unemployment rate dropped to 7.3%, down from February's revised rate of 7.5%.
The last time Alabama's unemployment rate was at 7.3% was in December of 2008. March's rate represents 157,378 unemployed persons, down from 161,795 last month, and significantly down from last year's count of 203,799.
"We are encouraged to see that Alabama's unemployment rate has dropped once again, and we will continue our efforts to see that everyone who is looking for work is able to find it," Governor Bentley said. "Fortunately, we are also continuing to see record numbers of job postings on JobLink. I want to strongly encourage anyone seeking a job to go online and register, or go visit a local Career Center for some assistance."
Alabama's online jobs database, www.joblink.alabama.gov registered more job postings in March than at any time since 2008 (with the exception of spikes due to temporary jobs following the Gulf Oil Spill and the 2011 April tornadoes). 12,788 jobs were posted in March.
"Additionally, we continue to see our initial weekly claims for unemployment compensation drop to pre-recession levels," Tom Surtees, Director of the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations said. "This means fewer people are losing their jobs. Of those that are receiving benefits, the average duration is getting shorter -- most are receiving benefits for about 17 weeks, meaning that people are going back to work faster."
Wage and salary employment increased 12,200 over the month, with increases in the trade, transportation, and utilities industry, the leisure and hospitality industry, the manufacturing industry, and the professional and business services industry, among others.
The counties with the lowest unemployment rates were: Shelby County at 5.1%, Coffee County at 6.0%, and Lee County at 6.2%. The counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox County at 16.1%, Lowndes County at 15.3%, and Dallas County at 13.4%.