County unemployment rate close to 5 percent

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Shelby County’s March unemployment rate was down to 5.1 percent, a half percent lower than the February unemployment rate of 5.6 percent, according to the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations.

The state unemployment rate saw a drop as well, going to 7.3 percent in March from 7.5 percent in February.

The last time the state enjoyed an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent was in December 2008.

“We are encouraged to see that Alabama’s unemployment rate has dropped once again, and we will continue our efforts to see that everyone who is looking for work is able to find it,” said Gov. Robert Bentley in a press release.

Bentley encouraged job seekers to visit Joblink.alabama.gov, which registered almost 13,000 new job postings in March.

Tom Surtees, director of the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations, said people that lose their jobs are getting new jobs faster than before.

“Of those that are receiving benefits, the average duration is getting shorter — most are receiving benefits for about 17 weeks, meaning that people are going back to work faster,” Surtees said in a press release.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates included Shelby, Coffee at 6 percent and Lee at 6.2 percent.

The counties with the highest unemployment rates included Wilcox at 16.1 percent, Lowndes at 15.3 percent and Dallas at 13.4 percent.