State’s unemployment rate continues to creep upwards

While Alabama’s unemployment rate rose to 10.4 percent in August, up from 10.2 percent in July, Shelby County’s unemployment rate held steady at 7.6 percent.

However, Shelby now shares the state’s lowest unemployment rate with Madison County. Madison’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.6 percent in August from 7.9 percent in July.

The state’s unemployment rate of 10.4 percent represents 217,306 unemployed persons. While jobs were lost in the hospitality, financial, trade, transportation, utilities and construction fields, jobs were gained in the educational, health services and business services fields.

Shelby and Madison have the lowest unemployment rate, followed by Coffee at 8.5 percent and Baldwin and Lee at 8.7 percent.

The counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox at 25.4 percent, Dallas at 21.3 percent and Conecuh at 19.9 percent.

Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees said the state continues to come up with programs to help the unemployed.

“While every state in the country continues to struggle with high unemployment, I want the unemployed in Alabama to know that there is help available to them,” Surtees said. “There are many unemployment compensation extension programs and even more job training programs available. I’d like to encourage those who need help to take advantage of these opportunities.”

Alabamians are now eligible for up to 79 weeks of unemployment compensation benefits, after Gov. Bob Riley recently signed a law allowing unemployed residents to draw up to an additional 20 weeks of unemployment benefits.

Residents can file for unemployment benefits online at dir.alabama.gov or by calling 1-866-234-5382.