Unemployment continues to rise

The number of Shelby County workers without a job continues to grow, along with the rest of Alabama.

The county’s unemployment rate for March was 6.3 percent, the best in Alabama. The state’s jobless rate was 9 percent.

Both those numbers are up from February, when the county’s unemployment rate was 6.1 percent and Alabama’s 8.4 percent.

Those numbers represent 193,403 unemployed people in the state. Most of the job losses last month were in manufacturing, educational and health services and information.

Tom Surtees, director of the Alabama department of Industrial Relations, said the national recession continues to take a toll on the state’s economy.

The state wants to help workers get regain employment as quickly as possible, Surtees said.

“The Alabama Career Centers, which are located all over the state, provide a wealth of services to the unemployed and the underemployed,” said Surtees. “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 a GED.”

The state’s two unemployment compensation call centers have also added staff and are working on state holidays, Surtees said.

After Shelby County, the counties with the lowest unemployment rates were Madison at 6.5 percent and Coffee at 7.1 percent.

The counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox at 22.5 percent, Dallas and Chambers at 18.1 percent and Lowndes at 17.6 percent.