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County jobless rate falls, again

MONTGOMERY – Marengo County’s jobless rate fell another .2 percent for the month of October, settling at 12.2 percent.

Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees announced Friday that Alabama’s October unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.9 percent. This rate is below the national average of 9.6 percent, and well below last year’s state rate of 10.8 percent.

Marengo’s jobless rate is well below the 13.4 percent posted last October.

October’s rate represents 189,358 unemployed persons, down from 224,708 at the same time last year. Locally, it represents 985 out of work residents, down from 1000 in September and 1124 from October 2009.

“For nine consecutive months we have been able to announce that Alabama hasn’t seen an increase in its monthly unemployment rate,” Surtees said. “That is certainly a statistic that makes us happy. The Department is continuing to pay less in benefits, and initialclaims remain below 2008 and 2009 levels. These are all positive signs for Alabama’s economic recovery.”

Alabama’s monthly unemployment rate has remained unchanged or dropped since January 2010, when the rate was 11.1 percent. Initial claims for October 2010 were 27,058, compared to 31,496 in October 2009, and 31,444 in October 2008. Monthly benefit payments were $31,194,425, compared to this year’s high of $52,229,706.

Wage and salary employment increased 1,800 over the month, with most of the upturn resulting from gains in the government and construction industries.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates were: Shelby at 6.8, Coffee at 7.1 and Madison at 7.1 percent. Counties with the highest unemployment rates were: Wilcox at 20.1, Greene at 18.4, and Dallas at 17.2 percent.