Limestone County has the third-lowest unemployment rate in the state, according to figures released Friday by the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations.
The county’s preliminary rate of 7.4 percent in June was four-tenths of a percent lower than the overall state rate of 7.8 percent. Only Shelby County and Coffee County had better rates with 6.1 percent and 7.3 percent, respectively.
The state tally increased slightly from May’s rate of 7.4 percent, but remained 1.5 percent lower than the June 2011 rate of 9.3 percent.
“Just as with last month, we are experiencing an expected, seasonal increase in the labor force,” said Tom Surtees, director of the ADIR. “People looking for summer work as well as teachers and education employees who are not working over the summer are entering the job market. Since the unemployment rate is simply the percentage of people in the labor force who are not working, this increase will inevitably raise the unemployment rate.”
Limestone’s rate, while in the top-three, was one percent higher than May’s rate of 6.4 percent. Neighboring Madison and Morgan counties also saw their rates rise from the previous month. Madison’s rate increased from 6.5 percent in May to 7.7 percent in June. Morgan’s rate jumped from 7.4 to 8.4 percent.
Although the unemployment rate did increase, unemployment claims continue to fall, according to the ADIR. Initial unemployment compensation claims are down by 20 percent from a year ago, and the amount paid in claims is down by 21.5 percent.
Alabama’s online jobs database, www.joblink.alabama.gov, is consistently registering more jobs than at any time in the site’s history, eclipsing the spikes created by temporary jobs following the Gulf Oil Spill in 2010 and the April 2011 tornadoes. In June, JobLink saw a record-breaking 15,690 jobs available.
“We are seeing jobs, especially on JobLink,” continued Surtees. “I’d like to encourage anyone seeking employment to take a few minutes and register on the site. The staff at our Career Centers throughout the state can also assist in the search for employment.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 43 states — including Alabama — still have fewer jobs than they did before the Great Recession began, according to U.S. Labor Department data. The figure is a reminder of how weak the nation's job market remains. Nevada, Arizona and Florida —hard-hit by the housing bust — are furthest behind. North Dakota, Alaska, and Texas, which have benefited from an oil boom, have gained the highest percentage of jobs.
Here are the five states with the biggest losses in June 2012, compared to December 2007, and the five states with the biggest gains:
States with the biggest losses
• Nevada: -12.4 percent
• Arizona: -8.2 percent
• Florida: -7.8 percent
• Alabama: -7.3 percent
• Mississippi: -6.5 percent
States with the biggest gains
• North Dakota: 15.7 percent
• Alaska: 3.8 percent
• Texas: 2.4 percent
• South Dakota: 0.8 percent
• Louisiana: 0.6 percent