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State sees dip in jobless rate during holidays

Published 2:00pm Friday, December 21, 2012

Gov. Robert Bentley announced on Friday that Alabama’s preliminary November unemployment rate is 7.5 percent, down from October’s rate of 8.1 percent.

Alabama’s November unemployment rate is also below the national rate of 7.7 percent. The state’s November rate represents 162,182 unemployed persons, compared to 174,867 in October and 180,003 in November 2011.

“We’re going to continue on the same path of working hard every day to recruit and attract more jobs for this state,” Bentley said. “The unemployment rate can fluctuate given the time of year. 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.”

Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said the drop can be attributed to employers expecting a “strong holiday season.”

“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.”

Retail trade employment increased by 3,700 in November, with the bulk of that increase coming from hiring in general merchandise and department stores.

The new figures were also good news for Butler County, which saw its unemployment rate drop from 11.5 percent in October to 9.9 percent in November. Last month’s rate was also nearly a point lower than November of 2011 when the county’s unemployment rate was 10.7 percent.

Butler County was one 66 counties in the state that saw a drop in unemployment in November.

Lowndes and Crenshaw counties also saw their rates drop.

Lowndes County went from 13.9 percent unemployment in October to 12.5 percent in November, while Crenshaw County dropped from 7.9 percent to 6.8 percent.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby County at 4.6 percent, Lee County and Madison County at 5.6 percent, and St. Clair County, Coffee County, Blount County, and Limestone County at 5.7 percent.

The counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox County at 15.9 percent, Bullock County at 14.1 percent, and Dallas County at 13.2 percent.

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