County unemployment rate jumps slightly

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

Shelby County and the state of Alabama both saw their unemployment rates jump slightly from December 2010 to January 2011.

The county January unemployment rate of 7.1 percent is up slightly from December’s rate of 6.7 percent. However, Shelby County still has the state’s lowest unemployment rate.

Alabama’s January rate is 9.3 percent, a jump from the December rate of 9.1 percent.

The Alabama January 2011 unemployment rate of 9.3 percent is an improvement of a percentage point over the state January 2010 rate of 10.3 percent.

Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees said although the state saw a slight jump in the unemployment rate, the economy is still continuing on a good path.

“Although we did experience a slight increase in our January unemployment rate, we continue to see positive signs that our economy is, in fact, recovering,” Surtees said. “We are paying out fewer dollars in unemployment compensation benefits for a lesser number of weeks, which shows us that people are going back to work more quickly. Also, our online jobs database currently has more active job orders than at any point since 2006, with the exception of the months following last year’s oil spill.”

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates were Shelby, Coffee at 7.6 percent, Pike at 8.1 percent and Madison at 8.1 percent. Counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox at 21.7 percent, Lowndes at 18.3 percent and Greene at 17.7 percent.