Jobless figures improve

Published 8:21 pm Friday, November 16, 2012

Economic and governmental leaders got an early gift this holiday season as the state reported Alabama’s unemployment figure had dropped to 8.1 percent in October. Locally, Dallas County also saw its jobless figures improve.

In the report issued by the Department of Industrial Relations and released Friday by Governor Robert Bentley’s office, Dallas County’s jobless figure in October was 14.8 percent, an improvement over September’s 15.1 percent and last October’s figure of 15.8 percent.

“These numbers show more Alabamians have jobs, and that’s an encouraging sign we’re headed in the right direction.  Our efforts to attract more jobs for people across the state will continue,” Bentley said in the release. “The recent approval of Amendment 2 will help us in our efforts to bring in new companies and encourage existing companies to expand and hire more people.”

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Alabama’s unemployment rate increased for four months during the late spring and summer, hitting 8.5 percent in August before declining for the past two months.

Nearly 9,000 more Alabama residents were working in October than in the prior month.

“This month, everything worked out the way we wish it would always work out,” Alabama Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said.  “Our labor force grew, the number of Alabamians working increased, and the number of those unemployed decreased.  We hope to continue seeing these positive signs in the future.”

Regionally, Lowndes County (14.0 percent) and Perry County (13.8 percent) saw their unemployment figures increase during September, but both were significantly better than what they reported in October 2011.

Wilcox County’s unemployment figure of 17.6 percent was the highest reported in the state, but was slightly better than September’s figure.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates were: Shelby County at 5.4 percent, Coffee County at 6.6 percent, Madison County at 6.6 percent, Lee County at 6.7 percent and St. Clair County at 6.7 percent.