Jobless rate steady in county

Published 9:51 am Friday, December 17, 2010

The State of Alabama’s unemployment increased slightly for the month of November, while Butler County’s jobless rate remained steady at 11.5 percent, according to numbers released by the Department of Industrial Relations on Friday.

Data shows that 1,029 people were unemployed in Butler County in November compared to 1,039 people in October. Unemployment was 16.5 percent in November 2009 in the county.
Alabama’s rate ticked up slightly from 8.9 percent to 9 percent.

“We saw a small increase, but our unemployment rate continues to remain well below the national average and our Employment Service Division is reporting more active job orders than at any time in the past three years,” said ADIR Director Tom Surtees.

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The counties with the lowest unemployment rates were: Shelby at 6.7 percent, Coffee at 7 percent, and Madison at 7.1 percent. The counties with the highest unemployment rates were: Wilcox at 20.7 percent, Greene at 18 percent, and Dallas at 16.8 percent.

Speaking at Greenville’s City Council meeting on Monday night, Mayor Dexter McLendon was optimistic that the worst of the recession was over. Hwashin America Co. is expanding and adding over 100 new jobs to its current payroll next year. The Hyundai Heavy Industries manufacturing plant being built in Hope Hull gives area officials like McLendon another reason for optimism, although the 1,000 jobs the company is bringing won’t come on-line until 2012.

“I think 2011 is going to be a good year for Greenville,” he said. “I think we have turned a corner.”

Butler County has been in double digit unemployment since December 2008. The rate jumped as high as 16.9 percent in October 2009, before beginning a slow trickle downward.

Among surrounding counties, Covington’s unemployment was the lowest at 8.8 percent, followed by Crenshaw (8.9), Lowndes (14.2), Conecuh (15.5), Monroe (16.2), and Wilcox (20.7).