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Good news today: county’s jobless rate fell in September

Published 12:19pm Friday, October 22, 2010

SPECIAL TO THE ADVOCATE

Alabama’s unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent in September, marking the fifth straight month the state’s jobless rate has declined and the lowest unemployment level Alabama has seen in almost two years, said Governor Bob Riley.

Not only is Alabama’s unemployment rate headed in the right direction, it’s getting there quickly.  Over just five months, the state’s unemployment rate has fallen from 11 percent recorded in April to the 8.9 percent rate for September announced on Friday.

Butler County’s unemployment rate was 11.8 percent. The county’s jobless rate was 12.2 percent in August.

“Alabama not only has an unemployment rate that is lower than the national rate, but our unemployment rate is falling faster than any other state.  In just five months, unemployment in Alabama has fallen by 2.1 percentage points. This sharp decline is a positive sign our economy is getting back on track and Alabama is headed in the right direction,” said Riley.

The national unemployment rate is 9.6 percent.

Alabama’s unemployment rate for last September was 10.7 percent compared to this year’s rate of 8.9 percent.  The last time Alabama’s unemployment rate was below 9 percent was February 2009.

The state’s rapid decline in unemployment mirrors what is happening locally in Alabama’s cities.  Five of Alabama’s metropolitan areas rank in the top 10 nationally for fastest declining unemployment rates, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

The decline in unemployment is largely due to Alabama’s economic development successes, Riley said, as companies recruited to Alabama over the past few years are coming on line and hiring workers and as Alabama’s automotive plants increase hours for their employees and ramp up production.

The Governor said that means Alabama must remain diligent in its efforts to bring new companies to Alabama and help existing industries expand.

“We need to continue doing what we’ve done over the past few years.  That’s go all over the world to recruit new jobs and work as partners with existing companies so they can grow and hire more workers,” said Riley.

Last week, Riley was in Germany meeting with several automotive supplier companies he’s working to bring to Alabama.  The trip was designed to capitalize on one of the state’s most recent economic development successes:  the addition of the C-Class sedan to production work at the Mercedes plant in Alabama.

Next week promises to bring more good news on the jobs front, Riley said.

“We’ve got a big announcement next week,” he said.  “We’re working to get Alabama’s unemployment rate back down to about three percent, which is where it was before the recession hit.  It will take a while, but we’ll get there.”

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