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Jobless numbers jump

The Chilton County unemployment rate continued to creep upward in March, increasing to 9.0 percent from February’s rate of 8.7 percent.

According to the state Department of Industrial Relations, there were 1,731 jobless persons in Chilton County in March, compared with just 719 the previous year.

The county unemployment rate is dead even with the state’s rate for March, which increased from 8.4 percent in February.

Although the state has experienced a significant gain of jobs over the past few years, the national recessionary economic climate is taking a toll on Alabama’s economy. As the state is seeing more unemployed workers, DIR is working diligently to provide them with services to help them regain employment in the shortest time possible.

“The Alabama Career Centers, which are located all over the state, provide a wealth of services to the unemployed and underemployed,” DIR Director Tom Surtees said. “I’d like to encourage anyone who may be in need of these services to visit their local Career Center to get some help finding a job, or receive specialized training, or even get their GED. There are so many ways we can help those who have found themselves unemployed.”

The Alabama Career Centers, which operate through a partnership between DIR, the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development, AIDT, and the two-year college system, offer a variety of services to the unemployed, including career planning, job referral, job training, occupational and educational training assistance, and veterans services.

Also, in an effort to serve more Alabamians, DIR’s two Unemployment Compensation Call Centers have added staff and are working on state holidays.

March’s unemployment rate represents 193,403 unemployed people in the state. Sectors experiencing job losses included manufacturing, other services, educational and health services, and information.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates were Shelby at 6.3 percent, Madison at 6.5 percent, and Coffee at 7.1 percent. Counties with the highest rates were Wilcox at 22.5 percent, Dallas and Chambers at 18.1 percent, and Lowndes at 17.6 percent.