Unemployment rates decline

Published 12:22 am Saturday, October 23, 2010

Chilton County saw a decline in its unemployment rate from 9.3 percent in August to 8.8 percent in September.

As of September 2010, there were an estimated 1,664 unemployed persons in the county, approximately 100 less than there were in August.

Alabama’s unemployment rate also fell from 9.2 percent to 8.9 percent during the same time period, significantly below last year’s September rate of 10.7 percent, the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations announced Friday.

“This is the fifth month in a row that Alabama has seen a decline in its unemployment

rate,” said DIR Director Tom Surtees. “Once again, our rate is below the national average of 9.6 percent, and we recently had some good news that several of our metro areas have experienced some of the largest drops in unemployment in the nation.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that five of the nation’s top 10 metropolitan areas with the biggest declines in unemployment are located in Alabama. These metro areas are: Florence-Muscle Shoals, Decatur, Anniston, Gadsden, and Tuscaloosa.

“In addition to all this good news, our statistics are looking pretty good, too. Our first time claims are at the lowest point in two years, and our benefit payments are the lowest we’ve seen this year,” Surtees said.

Initial claims for September were 23,770, compared to 28,403 in September 2009, and 24,174 in September 2008. Benefit payments were $31,558,816 in September, compared to this year’s high of $52,229,706.

Wage and salary employment increased 3,800 over the month with the majority of the upturn resulting from seasonal gains in the educational component of state and local government.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates were: Shelby County at 6.8 percent, Madison County at 7.1 percent and Coffee County at 7.2 percent. The counties with the highest unemployment rates were: Wilcox County at 20.9 percent, Greene County at 19.8 percent and Dallas County at 17.2 percent.