State, county jobless rate better

Published 7:18 pm Friday, May 17, 2013

State of Alabama leaders announced Friday the unemployment rate in the state has fallen below the 7 percent mark, giving some the belief “people are regaining confidence in the job market.”

Gov. Robert Bentley made the announcement that the preliminary April unemployment rate was 6.9 percent, down from March’s 7.2 percent and well below the 7.4 percent unemployment rate reported last April.

“The labor force increased, meaning more people are regaining confidence in the job market,” Bentley said. “Also, the number of people employed increased, meaning more people have jobs, and the number of people who are unemployed decreased. I am encouraged to see these improvements, and I will continue my efforts to recruit more jobs until everyone who needs a job is able to find one.”

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As for Dallas County, April’s unemployment number was still among the three highest reported in the state, but the 11.4 percent reported was a tremendous improvement over the 12.8 percent reported in March. April’s numbers were also an improvement over last April’s report.

Wilcox County, with an unemployment rate of 14.8 percent, was the worst among the state, while Perry County was the second highest unemployment rate reported at 11.7 percent.

Shelby, Lee and Blount counties were the three counties in Alabama reporting the lowest unemployment figures in April.

Another of Dallas County’s neighboring counties, Lowndes County showed significant improvement from one month to next; so much so it drew praise from state leaders.

“Like last month, the positives continued to increase for Alabama’s counties. All of the counties saw drops in their rates, including a significant drop of 2.4 percentage points in Lowndes County’s rate,” Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said. “In addition, we saw an increase of nearly 10,000 jobs in the state, with some industries that had been previously lagging showing some real improvement, like construction.”