Unemployment rates in state again improves

Published 10:50pm Friday, January 18, 2013

MONTGOMERY — Gov. Robert Bentley announced Friday Alabama’s preliminary December 2012 unemployment rate was 7.1 percent, down from previous months and also below the national rate of 7.8 percent.

And while the state’s preliminary rate is down from November’s unemployment rate of 7.5 percent and below December 2011’s rate of 8.0 percent, Dallas County had an unemployment rate of 12 percent, landing it among Alabama’s top five counties with the highest unemployment rates.

“We are encouraged to see our unemployment rate drop once again,” Bentley said. “Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen the total number of unemployed persons drop by nearly 22,000. Still, we must remember that many people are looking for work. Job creation remains my No. 1 priority, and I will continue working every day to bring more jobs to Alabama.”

The December 2012 rate represents 152,638 unemployed persons, down from 162,169 the previous month and 174,443 in December 2011.

“While the decrease in the number of unemployed persons is certainly welcomed, along with the other positive signs we’ve been seeing recently, we will continue to work to improve the employment picture in Alabama,” Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said. “Gov. Bentley and our Department of Commerce are working to bring jobs to the state, and the staff in our career centers will continue to work to help the unemployed and underemployed find the right career.”

The counties with the lowest December unemployment rates were: Shelby County at 4.6 percent, Madison and Blount counties at 5.5 percent, and Coffee, Cullman, Lee and St. Clair counties at 5.7 percent.

The counties with the highest rates were: Wilcox at 15.1 percent, Bullock County at 13.1 percent and Perry, Greene and Dallas counties.

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