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State Unemployment Hits Highest Number Since 1984

By Glenn Collins
Wednesday, March 10, 2010 | 12:03 PM

MONTGOMERY – Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees announced today that Alabama’s January 2010 unemployment rate rose to 11.1%, up from December’s revised rate of 10.9%. The unemployment rate for Winston County rose to 18.9%, up from December's revised rate of 17.2%.

January, 2010, unemployment rates and numbers of jobless for Winston and surrounding counties

This rate represents the highest since February, 1984, when unemployment in Alabama dipped to 11.0%. The all-time high for Alabama was 14.3% in December, 1982, at the tail end of the 1980-82 recession. Winston County is close to its 20-year high of 19.0%, hit in February, 1991.

Counties surrounding Winston and their rates are as follows: Cullman, 11.2%; Franklin, 13.5%; Lawrence, 14.6%; Marion, 16.5%; Morgan, 12.0%; and Walker, 13.4%.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rate were: Madison at 8.7%, Shelby at 8.8%, and Coffee at 9.0%. The counties with the highest unemployment rate were: Wilcox at 27.4%, Monroe at 22.4%, and Conecuh at 21.8%.

The state-wide rate represents 228,105 unemployed persons, and a decline in wage and salary employment of 30,800. Losses occurred in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector, the professional and business services sector, the government sector, the leisure and hospitality sector, the manufacturing sector, and the construction sector. The only monthly gain was the educational and health services sector.

"As we begin a new year, I hope that this great recession is nearing its end, and will allow our nation’s and our state’s economy [sic] to begin to repair itself,” said Surtees. “As that happens, I would like to remind everyone that the unemployment rate is a lagging indicator of economic recovery. Although we at the Department of Industrial Relations
are serving record numbers of unemployed workers, we are still able to distribute first payments in a timely manner and are providing thousands of people with employment training and assistance all over the state through our Career Centers.”

The average unemployment rate for 2009 was 10.1%. Over the past twelve months, nonagricultural wage and salary employment declined by 70,400. Annual losses occurred in manufacturing (-25,800); trade, transportation, and utilites (-13,900); construction (-12,000); professional and business services (-6,100); financial activities (-4,200); leisure and hospitality (-3,800); information (-2,400); government (-2,200); other services (-2,100); and natural resources and mining (-900). The only annual gains were recorded in educational and health services (+3,000).

The state-wide map is available [HERE]. County-by-county statistics are available [HERE].

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