MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama's unemployment rate is now trending in the right direction. It's 9.2%, down from 9.7% in July.
"I wasn't expecting anybody to just hire me on the spot, so it feels really good," says one recently hired worker.
4,000 people, competing for 700 jobs at a new outlet mall in Leeds, just outside of Birmingham.
Managers there are getting a taste of just how many Alabamians need work.
"It's been hard," says Kai Mumpfield.
She's a social worker who meets unemployed workers daily. The state's decreasing jobless rate is a glimmer of hope.
"I believe it, but it doesn't always help because there are so many people that need jobs right now," she says.
Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director, Tom Surtees, says it's the first time in nearly two years the state's average has fallen below the national number, but we're not out of the woods yet.
"The bad side of that is that we still have almost 190,000 Alabamians unemployed," says Surtees.
"Even at McDonald's, just any type of job is hard to get these days," says Chip Turner.
He's looking for part-time work.
"By me being a teenager, I know it's hard for even parents to try to find a job," he says.
"If that unemployment rate continues to drop, I can have a little bit more hope and encourage the people I work with," adds Mumpfield.
In our area, Coffee County has the lowest unemployment rate. Wilcox and Dallas have the highest.
Autauga County is at 8.1%.
Elmore County is at 8.3%.
Montgomery County is at 9.2%.
The state offers help to the unemployed. Check out the joblink section of www.wsfa.com for open jobs.