Limestone County has 2,662 people out of work. The good news is that figure has held steady for two consecutive months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Unemployment rates in both Alabama and Limestone County held steady through April and May.

Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees says the leveling off is an indication the state might be seeing some relief from the recession.

“While we still have many in our state that are unemployed, we are starting to see increases in some job sectors and decreases in the number of jobs being lost throughout the month.”

In May, the state held steady at 9 percent unemployment while Limestone County came in at 7.4-percent unemployment.

Overall, the state lost 6,200 jobs through April and May with the losses mainly in manufacturing, professional, business services and construction.

Local industrial recruiter Tom Hill, president of the Limestone County Economic Development Association, said he is encouraged for the time being with unemployment figures for the last two months, but he said when Delphi ceases production June 26 those figures will increase.

“The numbers are going to adjust to the Delphi layoffs at the end of June, but not all of those layoffs will affect Limestone County,” said Hill.

Hill said Steelcase and Federal Mogul are ordering new machines and gearing up for the consolidation with other plants. Turner Medical — formerly Turner Machine — is holding fairly steady, also.

“Turner Medical is not all that affected by the recession,” said Hill. “They used to do turning and grinding and tool and die maintenance for the automobile industry, but they switched over to producing medical equipment several years ago.”

Turner Medical spokesman Joe Haney said the company which makes surgical instruments, prototypes for research and development and screws and plates for orthopedic procedures, laid off five workers in April because of a decrease in customer orders, but since then employment has held steady at 58.

Gov. Bob Riley announced further good news for the state Monday. The state received the “Silver Shovel” award from Area Development Magazine, one of 11 states recognized by he publication for “attracting high-value investment projects that will create a significant number of new jobs.”

Moody’s predicted last week that Alabama would be among the first states to exit the recession, according to the governor’s announcement. Personal income grew nearly 5 percent last year, which ranked the state No. 13 in the nation for income growth, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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