County unemployment rate drops to almost 5 percent

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Shelby County’s jobless rate continued to drop in December 2011, hitting 5.2 percent, according to a press release from the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations.

In November 2011, the county’s unemployment rate was 5.4 percent. In two months, the county’s unemployment rate dropped 1.5 percent from October 2011’s rate of 6.7 percent.

The state’s unemployment rate is also seeing drastic improvement, with a December 2011 rate of 8.1 percent, down from November 2011’s rate of 8.7 percent.

“Alabama’s unemployment rate has been falling since August,” said state Gov. Robert Bentley. “In the last three months alone, we’ve seen an unprecedented drop of 1.7 percentage points. Our rate is once again below the national average, and over 41,000 more Alabamians are employed now than at the beginning of the year. I have to say that 2011 turned out to be a pretty good year in terms of reducing unemployment, but we still have work to do.”

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates were Shelby, Coffee at 6 percent, Pike at 6.4 percent and Lee at 6.4 percent.

The counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox at 16.3 percent, Bullock at 13.7 percent, Perry at 13.5 percent and Lowndes at 13.5 percent.