Alabama jobless rate remains unchanged in September

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Alabama’s unemployment rate for September is unchanged at 5.4 percent.

A statement released by the governor’s office on Friday says the jobless rate represents a total of 117,125 unemployed people in the state. Just over 2 million people were employed at the same time.

The state’s unemployment rate remains above the national rate, but the gap is closing. The U.S. unemployment rate inched up to 5 percent in September, compared to 4.9 percent in August.

“We are continuing to see record low numbers of people who are unemployed, with September’s count marking the second lowest number of unemployed since 2008,” said Gov. Bentley in a press release. He added, “We are continuing our efforts to ensure that every Alabamian who wants a job has one, and these numbers show we are having success in that endeavor.”

Shelby County in metro Birmingham has Alabama’s lowest unemployment rate at 4.2 percent. Wilcox County in western Alabama is worst with a jobless rate of 13.4 percent.

“Another highlight from this month’s jobs numbers is the fact that our manufacturing employment is nearing pre-recession levels,” said Fitzgerald Washington, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Labor in a press release. “Manufacturing has long been a strong industry in Alabama, and most of these jobs have higher than average salaries. August and September of this year are nearing our highest levels of manufacturing employment.”

The Governor’s Office says manufacturing employment measured 263,000 in September and 263,500 in August.  The last time this number was higher was in December 2008, when it measured 271,300.

In Mobile County, the unemployment rate rose to 6.6-percent in the month of September compared to 6.5-percent in August. However, 6.6-percent is still below last year’s rate of 6.9-percent in September.

Unemployment is even lower in Baldwin County where the rate in September was 5-percent, which is up from 4.9-percent in August.

Wage and salary total employment increased in September by 300 statewide.  Monthly gains were seen in the government sector (+5,800), the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+2,000), and the education and health services sector (+300), among others.

“On a more local level, 11 out of 12 metro areas and 87% percent of Alabama’s counties saw either no change or an improvement in their rates since last year,” added Secretary Washington.

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