State, county jobless rate down

Published 12:14 am Saturday, October 23, 2010

MONTGOMERY – Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees announced Friday that Alabama’s September unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent, down from August’s rate of 9.2.

This rate is also significantly below last year’s September rate of 10.7 percent. The last time Alabama’s unemployment rate was at or below this level was February 2009, when the rate was 8.7.

Marengo’s jobless rate also enjoyed a dip, although not quite as steep as the statewide rate. The county’s unemployment rate for September fell .1 percent o 12.4.

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“This is the fifth month in a row that Alabama has seen a decline in its unemployment rate,” Surtees said. “Once again, our rate is below the national average of 9.6%, and we recently had some good news that several of our Metro Areas have experienced some of the largest drops in unemployment in the nation.”

September’s rate represents 188,644 unemployed persons, down from 192,539 in August, and 224,486 in September 2009.

Currently, 999 Marengo County residents are without work.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that five of the nation’s top 10 metropolitan areas with the biggest declines in unemployment are located in Alabama.

These Metro Areas are: Florence-Muscle Shoals, Decatur, Anniston, Gadsden, and Tuscaloosa.

“In addition to all this good news, our statistics are looking pretty good, too. Our first- time claims are at the lowest point in two years, and our benefit payments are the lowest we’ve seen this year,” Surtees said.

The Black Belt continues to be home of the state’s highest unemployment rates with Wilcox (20.9), Greene (19.8), Dallas (17.2) and Perry (16.1) counties holding the four highest rates among Alabama’s 67 counties.

Clarke (15.3) is seventh, Sumter (14.1) is tenth while Marengo comes in sixteenth.