By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) was elected promising to do whatever it takes to cut the state. It has been a slow process, but the state of Alabama continues to see positive improvement in the unemployment rate.
Governor Bentley said, “We are encouraged to see our unemployment rate drop once again. Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen the total number of unemployed persons drop by nearly 22,000. Still, we must remember that many people are looking for work. Job creation remains my number-one priority, and I will continue working every day to bring more jobs to Alabama.”
In December Alabama’s Unemployment Rate fell to 7.1%. That is down from November’s rate of 7.5% and down from December 2011’s rate of 8.0%. The December 2012 rate represents 152,638 unemployed persons which is down from 162,169 the previous month and 174,443 in December 2011. The December 2012 Alabama rate is also below the national rate of 7.8%.
Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said, “While the decrease in the number of unemployed persons is certainly welcomed, along with the other positive signs we’ve been seeing recently, we will continue to work to improve the employment picture in Alabama. Governor Bentley and our Department of Commerce are working to bring jobs to the state, and the staff in our Career Centers will continue to work to help the unemployed and underemployed find the right career.”
Alabama State Senator Cam Ward (R) from Alabaster said on Facebook, “Good to see Alabama’s unemployment numbers headed in the right direction. Down for a 3rd quarter in a row to 7.1%. The numbers are even better in my area with Shelby County at 4.6%, Chilton County at 6.1% and Bibb County at 6.9%. People have asked me who deserves credit for the continued improvement in these numbers- the federal govt. or state govt.? The answer- neither. The more government gets out of the way of economic progress the more these numbers will continue to decline.”
According to the Alabama Department of Labor 7,600 new jobs were created in 2012 in the manufacturing sector. 4,500 jobs were created in the professional & business services sector. 3,400 new jobs were created in the leisure & hospitality sector. The trade, transportation & utilities sector grew by 2,500 in 2012.
Shelby County has the lowest unemployment rate at just 4.6%. Shelby County is followed by Madison and Blount Counties with 5.5%. Coffee, Cullman, Lee and St. Clair Counties are tied for fourth place at 5.7%. The counties with the worst job situation remain the economically depressed Black Belt Counties of Wilcox County at 15.1%, Bullock County at 13.1% and Perry, Greene and Dallas Counties at 12.0%.
Sen. Ward said, “As far as the legislature I don’t believe government creates new jobs, the private sector does. I think the legislature’s efforts to reduce govt. regulation on the private sector is helping and something we should continue so the private sector can excel.” “That 7.1 % is still too high. 5.2% is considered full employment for economic purposes. So we still have a long way to go on economic recovery.”