State unemployment rate rises; county sees significant drop

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

The state’s unemployment rate continued to rise in July, hitting 10 percent. However, Shelby County’s jobless rate dropped by almost a percentage point, down to 7 percent in July from 7.7 percent in June, according to the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations.

Conversely, the state’s unemployment rate is up by almost a percentage point from July 2010, when the rate was 9.2 percent. Last month, the state saw a jobless rate of 9.9 percent.

Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees said more job seekers are entering the market than in recent months.

“While we are disappointed to report any increase in our seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, we are encouraged by the jobs coming into the state,” Surtees said. “There are significantly more Alabamians working in July than in January this year. In addition, we continue to see more discouraged workers resuming their job search, with more unemployed active job seekers in July. So while we have seen more jobs, we have also seen more job seekers as well.”

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates were Shelby, Coffee at 7.7 percent and Pike at 8.1 percent. The counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox at 23.3 percent, Perry at 20.5 percent and Dallas at 19.9 percent.