Manufacturing sector employment carrying Alabama

The southern United States have been struggling to return to pre-recession employment rates, though some sectors have experienced slight growth through the beginning of 2012. The Birmingham News recently reported that the automotive industry has been carrying Alabama's manufacturing sector thus far.

According to the news provider, the state's unemployment rate dipped again in April, dropping to 7.2 percent. This represents the most preferable figures seen since before the recession. The automotive parts manufacturing industry there increased employment by more than 13 percent last month. However, other sectors are continuing to struggle.

"Yes, absolute growth is better than the alternative," John Norris, managing director of Oakworth Capital Bank in Birmingham and economist, told the source. "However, the relative performance of the state has not been good. There have been some recent bright spots, like Hyundai adding an extra shift down in Montgomery. However, we need more of them, a lot more of them."

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April's manufacturing growth in Alabama represented an increase of 0.9 percent year-over-year, which is among the strongest increases seen. Other sectors with strong year-over-year growth in April included professional services and hospitality.