County unemployment improves slightly

Published 10:09pm Friday, March 25, 2011

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Alabama’s unemployment rate held steady at 9.3 percent in February and remained above the national average.

State Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees announced Friday the rate was unchanged from January, but it was much better than the 10.2 percent recorded a year ago. The comparable national rate was 8.9 percent for February and 9.7 percent a year ago.

Alabama’s February rate represented 197,056 Alabamians looking for work.

In the Black Belt, the unemployment rates remained far and above the state and national averages, recording the worst of any area in Alabama.

Wilcox County reported the highest employment in the state with 21.4 percent, while Dallas and Lowndes counties both reported 16.2 percent unemployment. Perry County reported an unemployment rate of 16.5 percent.

Dallas County’s figure was a slight improvement over January’s 16.5 percent figure and is much improved from last February’s figure of 19.0 percent.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Alabama’s rate was better than its neighboring states. Tennessee measured 9.6 percent, Georgia and Mississippi tied at 10.2 percent, and Florida had 11.5 percent.

Alabama counties with the lowest unemployment rates were Shelby at 7.1 percent, Coffee at 7.5 percent, and Madison at 7.8 percent. Counties with the highest rates were Wilcox, Monroe at 16.9 percent and Clarke at 16.6 percent.

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