Alabama jobless rate rises to 6.4 percent

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Alabama’s unemployment rate is up to 6.4 percent despite improvement in the national jobless picture.

The state released statistics Monday showing the January rate was up one-tenth of a percent from the December rate of 6.3 percent. It was also well above the year-ago rate of 6.1 percent.

Nationally, unemployment dropped to 4.7 percent in figures released last week.

State unemployment is rising because people are entering Alabama’s workforce faster than jobs are being created and filled.

In Mobile County, an alarming rise in just one month. During Jan. 2017, the unemployment rate was 8.1 percent, which is up from 7.1 percent in Dec. 2016. It was much of the same picture in Baldwin County where the rate rose to 6.4 percent from 5.6 percent.

Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington says almost 10,000 people entered the labor force last month but only 6,500 of them found work. That makes the unemployment rate go up.

Shelby County has the state’s lowest unemployment rate at 5 percent, which Wilcox County has the highest jobless rate at 17.1 percent.

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