Alabama's October unemployment rate drops

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Below is a press release from Governor Bentley's office.

Governor Robert Bentley announced today that Alabama's October unemployment rate dropped by half of a percentage point to 9.3%. The unemployment rate in September was 9.8%. October's rate represents 201,296 unemployed persons, down from 211,132 last month. This is the fourth consecutive month Alabama's unemployment rate has decreased.

"The drop in Alabama's unemployment rate is certainly good news for our state," said Governor Bentley. "While we are still a long way from reaching full employment, October's decline shows positive momentum for our state as we continue our mission to put Alabamians back to work."

Alabama Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees commented that the drop in the unemployment rate is a positive sign in economic recovery.

"We are definitely excited to be able to announce a significant drop in our unemployment rate," said Surtees. "We are continuing to notice positive signs in our economic recovery. Our initial unemployment claims are lower than they have been over the past four years, as is the amount of our benefit payments."

"These positive indicators, along with the fact that we added nearly 10,000 jobs this month, contributed to the large decrease," continued Surtees. "We are certainly not out of the woods yet, but we are optimistic that we will continue to see positive hiring trends for the rest of the year, especially as seasonal hiring picks up for the holidays."

Initial claims were 23,408 in October, compared to 27,058 in October 2010, 31,496 in October 2009, and 31,444 in October 2008. Benefit payments were $25,991,912 in October, compared to $31,138,605 in October 2010, $45,665,115 in October 2009, and $27,703,017 in October 2008.

Wage and salary employed increased in October by 9,700, with the majority of the gains coming from the trade, transportation, & utilities sector, the government sector, and the professional and business services sector.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates were: Shelby County at 6.1%, Coffee County at 6.8%, and Lee County at 7.1%. Counties with the highest unemployment rates were: Wilcox County at 19.0%, Dallas County at 16.6%, and Bullock County at 16.6%.

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