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Alabama Unemployment Rate Increases in May

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is reporting that the state of Alabama’s unemployment rate jumped from 7.2% in April to 7.4% in the month of May.  This reverses a six month trend of decreasing unemployment.  The number of unemployed Alabamians increased from 154,000 to 159,200 from April to May.  The sector that is performing the worst continues to be construction where the total number of jobs is 9.0% less than in May of 2011.  73,700 Alabama residents had construction jobs in May.  The sector is showing some signs of recovery as the number of construction jobs increased by 1,200 jobs from April.  The second poorest performing sector is government which has 2.6% fewer job than in May 2011.  372,000 Alabama residents work for government.  The best performing sector in Alabama is leisure and hospitality where employment is up 4.9% from May 2011.  176,100 Alabama residents worked in the leisure and hospitality sector in May.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the unemployment rate increased in 18 states (including Alabama) in the month of May.  The unemployment dropped in14 states.  Nationally the unemployment rate was statistically unchanged from April at 8.2%.  The poorest performing sector is construction which lost 28,000 jobs in May.  The best performing sectors nationally are healthcare, transportation, and warehousing.

An estimated 12.7 million American residents are unemployed according to BLS.  Nationally, the unemployment for adult men increased to 7.8%.  The unemployment rate for Hispanics increased to 11% in May.  The unemployment rate for adult women was 7.4% in May.  7.4% of whites, 24.6% of teenagers, 5.2% of Asians, and 13.6% of blacks were unemployed in May.

5.4 million American residents have been unemployed for more than 27 weeks.  This number increased by 300,000 in May.  The long-term unemployed are 42.8% of the unemployed in the country.  The number of Americans who are working part time because they can’t find full time employment increased to 8.1 million.  The number of Americans who are marginally attached to the work force increased from 2.2 million in April to 2.4 million in May.  Those are Americans who don’t have jobs and have looked for work in the past 12 months; but do not count as unemployed because they did not look for work (according to the BLS’s numbers) in the last 4 weeks.  They are referred to as “the marginally-attached” by the BLS.  The BLS estimates that 830,000 of these are what the BLS terms as “discouraged workers”.  Discouraged workers have given up on their employment search because they believe that there are no jobs for them.

To learn more about the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics visit their website:

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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