State unemployment rate drops below national average

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

Alabama’s August unemployment rate dropped below the national average for the first time in nearly two years.

The state’s unemployment rate in August was 9.2 percent, while the national average was 9.6 percent. The last time Alabama’s unemployment rate was below the national rate was November 2008, when Alabama’s unemployment rate was 6.7 percent and the national rate was 6.9 percent.

Alabama’s unemployment rate is also far lower than last August’s unemployment rate of 10.6 percent.

Shelby County kept the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 6.8 percent, followed closely by Madison County at 7.1 percent and Coffee County at 7.3 percent.

Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees said the state’s unemployment rate means the economy is in recovery.

“This marks the first time in nearly two years that Alabama’s unemployment rate has been below the national average,” he said. “That is most definitely a sign that Alabama’s economy is slowly but surely recovering from this economic recession.”

The counties with the highest unemployment rate were Wilcox at 21.3 percent, Greene at 18.8 percent and Dallas at 17.8 percent.