County jobless rate down

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 17, 2009

Despite the U.S. dollar reaching a 14-month low this week, Pike County is experiencing economic growth.

Unemployment numbers were down from 9 percent to 8.7 percent, while the state average rose to 10.7 percent in September.

Pike County Economic Development President Marsha Gaylard said she hasn’t heard of any major changes that would have affected last month’s jobless numbers.

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But, Gaylard said the economy seems to be turning around.

“I think the economy is beginning to rebound. Our economy was never affected like the rest of the county,” Gaylard said.

Pike County’s economy has diverse industries, which help keep it more stable.

“That’s more typical of us,” Gaylard said “We usually stay on an even keel.”

Looking to the future, Gaylard said the county’s unemployment should continue on a downward trend.

“With CGI and some other things I think are going to happen, our unemployment rate should continue to go down,” Gaylard said. “We have some industries that are looking to expand.”

According to Gaylard, CGI is aggressively seeking applicants and that unemployment numbers should begin to reflect the hires made.

Of the county’s 15,346-labor force, some 1,336 individuals were jobless.

Statewide there were 223,165 unemployed people.

State officials said Alabama is not alone in the current economic crisis.

“While we are certainly disappointed that our unemployment rate has continued to rise, we realize that we are not alone in this situation,” said Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Direction Tom Surtees.

“The entire country is experiencing increases in unemployment rates due to the effects of this worldwide recession. However, this month we did see initial claims drop to their lowest level this year. That indicates that fewer people are filing for new unemployment compensation benefits.”

Pike County currently sits 63 out of 67 counties, with 67 representing the lowest unemployment rate.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates were: Madison at 7.5 percent, Shelby at 7.6 percent and Coffee at 8.5 percent. Counties with the highest rates are Wilcox at 25.6 percent, Dallas at 21.1 percent and Perry at 19.8 percent.

Pike County has a lower unemployment than all surrounding counties except Coffee.

Crenshaw sets at 9.7 percent, Dale sets at 9.3 percent, Montgomery is at 10.2 percent and Bullock and Barbour round out the top at 16.4 and 13.4, respectively.