Alabama employment increases during February

During February, the state’s employment increased for the first time in three months.

The total number of employees increased by 11,300. The majority of those jobs came in professional and business services, government, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing and educational and health services, according to a press release from the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations.

The state’s unemployment rate stayed at January’s rate of 11.1 percent, however. That rate represents 227,717 unemployed.

ADIR Director Tom Surtees said the employment gain is a positive sign.

“We are starting to see some consistent signs that our economy has begun a rebound,” he said. “New unemployment benefit claims have fallen 61 percent since the third week of January. We’re seeing nearly half the amount of people signing up for unemployment assistance this year than we were a year ago.”

Shelby County had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state at 8.5 percent. Coffee County also had an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent. Madison County had the state’s lowest rate at 8.3 percent.

The counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox at 27 percent, Monroe at 21.4 percent and Conecuh at 20.3 percent.