Wiregrass unemployment rates dipped below 7 percent for most counties in March after rates were adjusted to factor out seasonal hiring.
Houston County’s March rate of 6.7 percent matches its rate of 6.7 percent for March of 2012. According to numbers provided by the Alabama Department of Labor, 407 more people were employed in March than in February, while the civilian labor force dipped by 62 residents. That allowed the county rate to drop from 7.7 percent in February to 6.7 percent in March.
Elsewhere in the Wiregrass, Geneva County’s rate dipped to 6.5 percent, while Henry County’s rate fell to 6.8 percent. Coffee (6.2) and Dale (7.5) counties also experienced dips in the unemployment rate.
Overall, Alabama’s rate held steady at 7.2 percent.
The civilian labor force increased in March to 2,164,497, up from 2,157,556 in February and 2,156,362 last year. The number of employed persons rose to 2,009,426, up from 2,002,766 in February and 2,000,138 last year.
“We always urge people to look at trends in the unemployment numbers, rather than simply looking at only the monthly data in order to get a better picture of the job market,” Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said in a written release. “For example, we’ve seen consistent increases in the number of people employed since August of last year - with the exception of January, which is to be expected as holiday hiring winds down.”
“Additionally, 66 of 67 counties, along with all of the state’s metropolitan areas, saw their unemployment rates drop this month. Lamar County saw a drop as large as 1.9 percentage points, which is great news,” Surtees added.
Eight Alabama counties saw decreases in their unemployment rates of 1.5 percentage points or greater. These counties are: Barbour, Bullock, Choctaw, Cleburne, Conecuh, Lamar, Marion, and Winston.