By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Preliminary October jobs numbers show for the month of October show that Alabama’s unemployment rate has fallen to 8.1%. That is down both from September’s 8.2% and from 8.5% a year ago in October 2011.
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) said in a written statement on Friday, “These numbers show more Alabamians have jobs, and that’s an encouraging sign we’re headed in the right direction. Our efforts to attract more jobs for people across the state will continue. The recent approval of Amendment 2 will help us in our efforts to bring in new companies and encourage existing companies to expand and hire more people.”
Alabama Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said, “This month, everything worked out the way we wish it would always work out. Our labor force grew, the number of Alabamians working increased, and the number of those unemployed decreased. We hope to continue seeing these positive signs in the future.”
In October 175,013 Alabama residents were unemployed. That number is down from 177,632 last month and 186,251 in October 2011.
Meanwhile the total civilian labor force increased from 2,154,431 in September to 2,160,627 in October. Of those, the number of employed individuals increased from 1,976,799 to 1,985,614.
Shelby County at 5.4%, Coffee County at 6.6%, Madison County at 6.6%, Lee County at 6.7%, and St. Clair County at 6.7% were the counties with the lowest unemployment rates. The highest unemployment rates were in the impoverished Alabama Black Belt.
Wilcox County had the worst unemployment rate in the state at 17.6%. They were followed by Bullock County at 16.2%, Dallas County at 14.8%, Perry at 13.4%, and Lowndes County at 13.2%.
Unemployment rates do not include people who dropped out of the work force and have given up on finding a job or people involved in criminal activities such as illegal drug manufacturing or marketing.
October’s job numbers do not count the impact that the Airbus plant will have when the company breaks ground on its’ massive assembly plant in Mobile early next year. The Mobile Airbus assembly plant will create an additional 1000 high paying Alabama jobs. That number does not include the construction jobs that will be produced by the plant or the Airbus supplier and vender jobs that are likely to spring up in Mobile as well as other parts of the state as Airbus goes into production.
Governor Bentley has made improving Alabama’s employment picture and creating new jobs the focus of his administration. The Governor has vowed not to take any pay until the state’s unemployment rate is back below 5%.