Unemployment rate in AL rises to 11%

MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) – The Director of the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations made some upsetting news on Friday.

Director Tom Surtees announced that the unemployment rate for December 2009 rose to 11% from November's 10.5%. This new rate represents 225,596 unemployed persons in the state. The wage and salary employment declined by 9,300 persons. Declines were largest in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, construction, educational and health services, government, financial activities and manufacturing.

Not all of the announcement was bad news. Gains were made in trade, transportation and utilities, other services, natural resources and mining and information sectors.

"Although we became a little hopeful due to last month's unemployment decrease, I think we all realize the reality of the economic situation in this country," said Surtees. "We are continuing to see Alabamians suffer from the recession and remain committed to serving them."

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates were: Shelby at 7.6%, Madison at 7.7%, and Coffee at 8.1%. Counties with the highest rates were: Wilcox at 24.5%, Monroe at 20.2%, and Dallas at 20.1%.

For 2009, Alabama's preliminary average unemployment rate was 9.8%. Wage and salary employment declined by 65,100.