Shelby County no longer has state’s lowest unemployment rate

Shelby County no longer holds Alabama’s best unemployment rate. For the month of September, Shelby County’s unemployment rate was 7.6 percent, barely higher than Madison County’s rate of 7.5 percent.

The state’s unemployment rate rose to 10.7 percent, up from 10.3 in August. The 10.7 unemployment rate represents 223,165 unemployed.

“While we are certainly disappointed that our unemployment rate has continued to rise, we realize that we are not alone in this situation,” said Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees. “The entire country is experiencing increases in unemployment rate due to the effects of this worldwide recession.”

Surtees said, however, that fewer people are filing for new unemployment benefits. There were 28,000 initial claims for unemployment benefits in September, less than half the year’s high of 61,000 in January.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates were Madison at 7.5 percent, Shelby at 7.6 percent and Coffee at 8.5 percent. Counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox at 25.6 percent, Dallas at 21.1 percent and Perry at 19.8 percent.

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