Chilton County unemployment down to 6.6 percent

Published 2:59 pm Friday, April 20, 2012

Chilton County’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.6 percent, according to numbers released Friday.

The county’s preliminary jobless rate for March was down from February’s 7.3 percent.

Statewide, the unemployment rate fell in March to 7.3 percent, down from 7.5 percent the previous month.

The last time Alabama’s unemployment rate was 7.3 percent was in December 2008.

“We are encouraged to see that Alabama’s unemployment rate has dropped once again, and we will continue our efforts to see that everyone who is looking for work is able to find it,” Gov. Robert Bentley said in a statement.

Tom Surtees, director of the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations, said claims for unemployment compensation have dropped to pre-recession levels.

“This means fewer are losing their jobs,” Surtees said. “Of those that are receiving benefits, the average duration is getting shorter – most are receiving benefits for about 17 weeks, meaning that people are going back to work faster.”

March saw most of its increase in the trade, transportation and utilities; leisure and hospitality; manufacturing; and professional and business services.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates were Shelby County at 5.1 percent, Coffee County at 6 percent and Lee County at 6.2 percent.

The counties with the highest unemployment were Wilcox County at 16.1 percent, Lowndes County at 15.3 percent and Dallas County at 13.4 percent.