Jobless rate drops in state, countyPublished 10:51am Wednesday, January 2, 2013
By Kevin Taylor, Outlook Staff Writer
The Alabama Department of Labor announced the unemployment numbers in the state dropped below the national average of 7.7 percent for the month of November.
The report, released Dec. 21, indicated the state’s jobless rate dipped to 7.5 percent in November, a reduction from the 8.1 percent reported in October.
“November’s rate indicates that Alabama’s employers are expecting a strong holiday season,” said Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees. “The increase in retail hiring means that many people have jobs this Christmas that may otherwise have not. Even if some of the jobs are temporary, that still means that thousands of Alabamians will be able to provide for their families during the holiday season.”
Locally the unemployment numbers were just as encouraging.
Tallapoosa County’s jobless rate dropped more than a full percentage point from 9.4 to 8.2 percent.
Neighboring counties Elmore and Coosa also saw a drop. Elmore County’s unemployment number fell from 7.4 percent to 6.3 percent, while Coosa County’s dropped from 8.1 to 7.3 percent.
Retail trade employment increased by 3,700 in November, with the bulk of that increase coming from hiring in general merchandise and department stores.
Surtees said 66 of the 67 counties in the state experienced a drop in their unemployment rate this month.
Gov. Robert Bentley said the numbers not only are reflective of the holiday season workers but the continued effort to bring jobs to the state.
“We are encouraged that the overall trend shows a decreasing unemployment rate, and I will continue my efforts to create more jobs until everyone who wants a job is able to find one,” Bentley said.
The counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby at 4.6 percent and Lee and Madison at 5.6 percent.
The counties with the highest unemployment rates remain Wilcox at 15.9 percent, Bullock at 14.1 percent and Dallas at 13.2 percent.
Taylor is copy editor for The Wetumpka Herald.