Alabama's unemployment rate dipped slightly in May, but it was higher than the same month a year ago.
Gov. Robert Bentley reported Friday that Alabama measured 6.8 percent unemployment. That's down from 6.9 percent in April, but it is above the 6.4 percent recorded in May 2013.
The seasonally adjusted statistics show there were slightly more than 147,000 Alabamians looking for work in May. That's down about 160 people from the previous months, but it's about 8,600 more than a year ago.
The state Department of Labor says Alabama's March unemployment rate is 6.7 percent, which is three-tenths of a percent higher than the February rate. It's also above the March 2013 rate of 6.6 percent.
The job rate represents 144,628 unemployed people. But the number of people in the labor force also grew by more than 14,000 people, and the number of working Alabamians increased by 7,000.
The state labor commissioner, Tom Surtees, says the unemployment rate is up because of the growth in the labor force.
Alabama's unemployment rate has dropped to 6.1 percent.
Gov. Robert Bentley says that's a five-year low. The last time Alabama has a rate at or below 6.1 percent was October 2008, when the rate was 5.9 percent.
The state Labor Department says December's rate of 6.1 percent compares to 6.2 percent in November and 6.8 percent a year ago. Alabama's rate is below the national average of 6.7 percent. Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby at 3.8 percent, Lee at 4.7 percent and St. Clair and Cullman at 4.8 percent.
Alabama's unemployment rate measured 6.3 percent for August.
The state Department of Labor says the rate is up from July's revised figure of 6.2 percent, but it is well below the 7.5 percent rate from July 2012. It is also below the national rate of 7.3 percent.
The new figures show the number of unemployed Alabamians stayed about the same from July to August, but the number of people employed and the size of the labor force declined.
Alabama had the second lowest unemployment rate in the Southeast in July.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Virginia's rate of 5.7 percent was lower than Alabama's rate of 6.3 percent. The bureau also reports that Alabama had one of the nation's biggest drops in unemployment from a year ago, when Alabama's rate measured 7.6 percent. Only seven states exceeded Alabama's drop of 1.3 percentage points over the last year.
Last year new and expanding industries announced plans to create more than 20,000 jobs with investments topping $5.4 billion in Alabama.
But those numbers did not include a single new job or investment in almost a dozen of Alabama's 67 counties.
Three-quarters of that investment and two-thirds of the jobs are slated for the state's 15 urban counties, defined as those with cities that have populations of 25,000 people or more, al.com reported. The rest of the new jobs was split among 41 rural counties and the 11 that ended up empty-handed are also all considered rural.
Alabama's unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent in February.
The rate announced by the state Department of Labor is up from 6.9 percent in January and is equal to the rate a year ago. The number of unemployed people looking for work grew by more than 6,000 from January.
The long-term unemployed in Alabama will be among the first to feel automatic federal budget cuts scheduled to take effect Friday.
A spokeswoman for the Alabama Department of Labor says federal officials have advised the department to prepare for a cut of 9 percent to 10 percent in unemployment benefits for Alabamians who have exhausted their 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits and are now getting the extended 37 weeks of federal benefits.
Gov. Robert Bentley said Friday that December's rate of 7.1 percent is down from 7.5 percent in November. It's the fourth month for a decline since measuring 8.5 percent in August. The December rate is also better than the 8 percent measured a year ago.
The state Department of Labor reports that Alabama gained 7,600 manufacturing jobs during the last year, and professional and business services jobs grew by 4,500.