State, county unemployment levels rise

Published 12:05 am Saturday, July 18, 2009

Alabama’s June unemployment rate rose to 10.1 percent, up from 9.8 percent in May, making it one of 15 states in the nation to top 10 percent.

Among Alabama’s counties, Wilcox topped the unemployment list with 24.4 percent. Dallas County followed with 20 percent. Perry at 19.4, Lowndes at 19.3 and Chambers County at 18.9 percent rounded out the top five in the state.

Seasonal employment likely pushed up the rate for Dallas County, said Wayne Vardaman, executive director of the Selma-Dallas County Economic Development Authority.

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Seasonal employees include school teachers, cafeteria workers and others who have summers off.

Local industries haven’t announced any changes in employment.

“Things seemed to have stabilized,” Vardaman said.

The statewide figure of 10.1 percent unemployed represents 215,617 Alabamians.

“As I’ve said for many months now, as long as the nation continues to suffer from this recession, so will Alabama,” said Tom Surtees, director of the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations. “Unemployment also tends to be a lagging indicator of economic recovery. With that said, we at DIR are doing everything we can to help the thousands of jobless Alabamians.”