Jobless rate increases again

The Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees announced Thursday that Alabama’s January 2011 unemployment rate is 9.3 percent, which is an increase from December 2010’s rate of 9.1 percent. January 2011’s rate remains significantly below January 2010’s rate of 10.3 percent.

January’s rate represents 196,259 unemployed persons, compared to 193,158 in December 2010, and 221,768 in January 2010.

“Although we did experience a slight increase in our January unemployment rate, we continue to see positive signs that our economy is, in fact, recovering,” said Surtees. “We are paying out fewer dollars in unemployment compensation benefits for a lesser number of weeks, which shows us that people are going back to work more quickly. Also, our online jobs database currently has more active job orders than at any point since 2006, with the exception of the months following last year’s oil spill.”

Chilton County’s unemployment rate is at 9.8 percent compared to 8.9 percent in December 2010 and 10.8 percent in January 2010.

The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) paid $37.69 million unemployment compensation benefits for 188,011 weeks in January, compared to $49.26 million for 240,816 weeks in January 2010, and $52.77 million for 261,934 weeks in January 2009.

Alabama JobLink recorded 10,590 active job orders in January, which is more than any month in the past four years, with the exception of the months immediately following the Gulf Oil Spill, when a large number of temporary beach clean-up jobs were available.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to once again urge Alabamians to visit their local Career Center or logon to www.joblink.alabama.gov to take advantage of the many free job services available to them. There are currently more than 8,500 jobs available, you never know if one may be perfect for you,” said Surtees.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rate in January were: Shelby County at 7.1 percent, Coffee County at 7.6 percent, Pike County at 8.1 percent, and Madison County at 8.1 percent. The counties with the highest unemployment rates were: Wilcox County at 21.7 percent, Lowndes County at 18.3 percent, and Greene County at 17.7 percent.

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