Unemployment Drops Locally, Rises Statewide

Etowah County’s unemployment rate ticked slightly downward in March, while the state rate rose, according to preliminary data released Friday by the Alabama Department of Labor.

Etowah County’s jobless rate fell to 7.2 percent last month from 7.8 percent in February. That halted a three-month string of increases.

Alabama’s unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent from 6.4 percent in February.

The local jobless rate is up 0.6 percent from March 2013’s 7.2 percent, and the state rate is up by 0.1 percent from 6.6 percent a year ago.

Etowah County’s civilian labor force increased by 333 to 45,397 in March, the reported number of people employed grew by 541 to 42,112 and the reported number of people unemployed fell by 208 to 3,285.

The seasonally adjusted state numbers reflect 144,628 unemployed people, but the number of people in the labor force grew by more than 14,000 to 2,148,148, and the number of working Alabamians increased by nearly 7,000 to 2,003,520.

State Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said the increased unemployment rate reflects the growth in the labor force.

He said employers reported more than 12,000 additional jobs, and construction showed a gain for the first time in months.

Other Northeast Alabama counties saw their unemployment rates decline in March: Blount, to 6.2 percent from 6.6 in February; Calhoun, to 7.8 percent from 8.1; Cherokee, to 5.9 percent from 6.7; DeKalb, to 7.6 percent from 8.0; Marshall, to 8.9 percent from 9.2; and St. Clair, to 6.1 percent from 6.6.

Wilcox County had Alabama’s highest jobless rate at 16.4 percent, and Shelby County was lowest at 4.8 percent.

Times Staff, Wire Reports