Unemployment rate drops for state, county

Published 3:46 pm Friday, January 18, 2013

Gov. Robert Bentley announced on Friday that Alabama’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.1 percent in December, down from 7.5 percent in November.

The December 2012 rate represents 152,638 unemployed persons, down from 162,169 the previous month and 174,443 in December 2011.

The December 2012 rate is also below the national rate of 7.8%.

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“We are encouraged to see our unemployment rate drop once again,” Bentley said.  “Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen the total number of unemployed persons drop by nearly 22,000.  Still, we must remember that many people are looking for work.  Job creation remains my No. 1 priority, and I will continue working every day to bring more jobs to Alabama.”

Butler County also saw a slight drop in its unemployment rate.

Its December total was 9.8 percent, down from 9.9 percent in November and 10.3 percent in December of 2011.

Lowndes County and Crenshaw County also saw a drop in their unemployment rates.

Lowndes’ December figure was 11.4 percent, down from 12.5 percent, while Crenshaw’s rate was 6.4 percent, down from 6.8 percent.

“While the decrease in the number of unemployed persons is certainly welcomed, along with the other positive signs we’ve been seeing recently, we will continue to work to improve the employment picture in Alabama,” Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said.  “Governor Bentley and our Department of Commerce are working to bring jobs to the state, and the staff in our Career Centers will continue to work to help the unemployed and underemployed find the right career.”

The counties with the lowest December 2012 unemployment rates were Shelby County at 4.6 percent, Madison and Blount Counties at 5.5 percent, and Coffee, Cullman, Lee and St. Clair Counties at 5.7 percent.

The counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox County at 15.1 percent, Bullock County at 13.1 percent and Perry, Greene and Dallas Counties at 12 percent.