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Alabama’s May unemployment rate is 6.1%

Governor Robert Bentley on Friday announced that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted May unemployment rate is 6.1 percent and wage, with salary employment surpassing 2015 economic predictions.

“Earlier this year, leading economists at the University of Alabama predicted that our wage and salary employment would grow by 33, 800,” Bentley said. “I am proud to say that only five months into 2015, we’ve added 34,800 jobs, already surpassing job growth predictions. Our effort to create jobs is strong, and we will continue until every Alabamian has an opportunity to find a job.”

AL Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington shared Bentley’s optimism. “Although we experienced an increase in our unemployment rate this month, the news is not bad,” Alabama Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington said. “Both employment measures registered gains, which is clear evidence that Alabamians are going back to work. We haven’t seen wage and salary employment this high in May since 2008. Additionally, household employment also increased by more than 47,000 since last year.”

Wage and salary employment increased in May by 9,400, rising to 1,958,100. The last time wage and salary employment was equal to or above 1,958,100 was May 2008, when it was 2,012,500.

Over the year, wage and salary employment has increased by 30,500, with gains in the professional and business services sector (+7,000), the leisure and hospitality sector (+6,300), and the education and health services sector (+6,200), among others.

Current Population Survey (CPS), or household, employment was recorded at 2,038,731 in May, representing a monthly increase of 6,990, and 47,488 over the year.

“It is not surprising to see an increase in the unemployment rate in the summer months due to more people entering the workforce,” Washington added. “Students and recent graduates tend to enter the job market during these times and begin their job searches.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 4.2%, Lee County at 5.1%, and Elmore County at 5.1%.