County’s unemployment rate still lowest in state

Shelby County had the state’s lowest unemployment rate for the month of April, according to the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations.

The county’s jobless rate was 5.8 percent, down from 6.3 percent in March.

For the first time in 18 months, Alabama’s rate did not increase, instead remaining unchanged at 9 percent.

Tom Surtees, director of the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations, said that the recent steadiness may signify some relief from the recession.

“While we still have many in our state that are unemployed, we are starting to see increases in some job sectors and decreases in the number of jobs being lost throughout the month,” he said. “Hopefully, these trends will continue.”

April’s rate represents 191,678 unemployed people in Alabama.

Throughout the month of April, 6,200 people lost their jobs, compared to 40,600 in January. Most of the jobs lost this month were in manufacturing, professional and business services and construction. There was an increase in leisure and hospitality, other services and government.

After Shelby County, the counties with the lowest unemployment rates were Madison at 5.9 percent and Coffee at 6.2 percent.

The counties with the highest unemployment rates in April were Wilcox at 22.2 percent, Chambers at 17.3 percent and Lowndes at 17.1 percent.