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Pike County unemployment among lowest

Unemployment rates are soaring all around the nation, but Pike County’s rate remains one of the lowest in the state.

Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees said, “The important thing to realize right now is that the recession has hit the entire country hard.”

But economically, the county is weathering much better than most.

Preliminary numbers for January 2009 were released Wednesday, and Pike County had a 6.8 percent unemployment rate, which is up from the December 2008 rate of 5.4 percent.

This number is less than both the state and national numbers.

Alabama’s unemployment rate rose to 7.8 and the U.S. rose to 7.6.

While the numbers are less than state and national rates, it is still following the increasing trend.

In January, the number of unemployed in the county grew to 1,053, and the state total was 167,774.

Even with the increase, Pike County seems to be in better shape than many of the other counties in the state.

Thirty of Alabama’s 67 counties had unemployment rates that stretched to double digits, with Wilcox County’s rate nearing 20 percent.

The lowest in the state was Shelby County with 5.5 percent.

Alabama also has not been hit as hard as neighboring states.

Mississippi’s rate was 8.7 percent, while Georgia, Florida and Tennessee each had a 8.6 percent rate.

“Alabama is fortunate in that our rate is still as good bit lower than our neighboring states. Thanks to the increase in economic development over the past six years, Alabama has so far been able to weather the recession a little bit better than others.”