Alabama#039;s jobless rate goes up

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Alabama's unemployment rate increased to 5.7 percent in November, up from October's 5.6 rate, according to a statement published by the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations recently. The national rate was 6.0 percent in November, which increased from 5.7 percent.

"Alabama is reflecting the national trend of higher unemployment," said Alice McKinney, director of the Department of Industrial Relations. "It is unfortunate that the increased unemployment is coinciding with the holiday season, and at a time when the extended unemployment compensation benefits program is due to expire December 28."

Alabama's rate is still below the 5.9 percent experienced a year ago at this time. November's rate represents 126,100 unemployed people vs. 127,700 in November 2001.

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Butler County's unemployment numbers dropped to 10.2 in November, down from October's 10.5 percent

Surrounding counties numbers were varied with Crenshaw's unemployment rate rose from 6.2 percent in October to 6.5 percent in November. Lowndes County's number dropped from 12.7 percent in October to 12.2 percent for November.

The news about the expiring extended unemployment compensation benefits doesn't help either.

About 7,000 Alabamians are presently on the role for extended benefits, which represents about $1 million that is returned to Alabama's economy each week, DIM representatives said.

The 13-week extended benefits program began in March as a part of the federal Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002. The 13-weeks are added on to the standard 26-week unemployment compensation period for those who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. The program is up for Congressional renewal in January.

DIM said the annual job losses were centered in manufacturing (-7,000 jobs), trade (-4,900), and transportation and public utilities (-3,900). Job growth occurred mainly in the state in construction (+1,300 jobs), mining (+400) and government (+200).