MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - January unemployment numbers for Alabama are being released and they indicate the jobless rate has to 9.3 percent.
Tom Surtees, Director of the Alabama Dept. of Industrial Relations, said Thursday that numbers from the first month of the year were up from December's 9.1 percent. The figure was "significantly below" the same rate from a year prior. In January 2010 Alabama recorded a 10.3 percent jobless rate.
The January rate represents more than 196,000 unemployed people.
"Although we did experience a slight increase in our January unemployment rate, we continue to see positive signs that our economy is, in fact, recovering," said Surtees. "We are paying out fewer dollars in unemployment compensation benefits for a lesser number of weeks, which shows us that people are going back to work more quickly."
Despite the increase, Surtees said there are some bright signs. The department's database of available jobs is larger than at any point since 2006, with the exception of the months following last year's Gulf oil spill. Alabama JobLink recorded 10,590 active job orders in January. Surtees says there are more than 8,500 jobs currently available on the site.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates for January were Shelby at 7.1 percent, Coffee at 7.6 percent, and Pike and Madison at 8.1 percent. Counties with the highest rates were Wilcox at 21.7 percent, Lowndes at 18.3 percent and Greene at 17.7 percent.
BY THE NUMBERS