"The unemployment rate has also been very consistent over the a year ago, remaining close to 3.7 percent", said Susan Price, BLS Program Operations Manager. The unemployment rate of 3 percent is up slightly from 2.8 percent previous year. Fairfield County fared the worst, with an unemployment rate of 10.1 percent in January.
Unemployment figures are reported to the federal-level Bureau of Labor Statistics and also the Census Bureau, Parker said, citing a report from Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce project manager Dr. Steve Turkoski. In December, 50,413 people were unemployed. The manufacturing sector added the most jobs in the state: 3,100. That figure was four-tenths of a percent higher than a year earlier, when unemployment stood at 5.6 percent in the county.
The state's unemployment rate in December was 3.2 percent and in January it dropped to 3.1 percent, near the record low of 3 percent set in 1999. Government employment was higher by 500 jobs.
Some industry analysts rely on civilian labor force participation figures to gauge economy strength, but even those numbers may not be fully accurate, Parker said. The further lowering of the unemployment rate, however, meets with difficulties.
Goods producing industries experienced a seasonal decline over the month but were up 200 jobs over the year.
There was a loss of 1,100 in trade, transportation and utilities jobs and a loss of 1,000 in the "other services" category. Most of the hiring occurred in administrative and support services (+3,000), while management of companies decreased 1,300.
"The 85,000-plus jobs added in the household survey, easily surpassed labor growth this past year".