State unemployment rate goes up; county rate holds steady

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

While Alabama’s unemployment rate increased slightly in December, Shelby County’s held steady at the lowest in the state.

The state unemployment rate went up to 9.1 percent, slightly more than the November rate of 9 percent.

Shelby County’s unemployment rate remained at 6.7 percent for the second straight month.

Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees reminded Alabamians in a statement that the December 2010 rate of 9.1 percent is an improvement over the December 2009 unemployment rate of 10.9 percent.

“Although we did see a small increase in our unemployment rate, we still remain below the national rate, and Alabama did see a net increase in jobs over the past 12 months,” he said. “The road coming out of this recession will be a bumpy one, and we have to be prepared to handle the bumps as they come along.”

December’s unemployment rate of 9.1 percent represents 194,686 unemployed Alabama citizens.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby, Coffee at 6.9 percent and Madison at 7 percent. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox at 20 percent, Greene at 18 percent and Monroe at 16 percent.