Pike jobless rate among state’s lowest

Published 8:35 am Saturday, December 17, 2011

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s unemployment rate has taken a big drop for the second month and fallen to its lowest level in nearly three years. And, Pike County’s unemployment rate is the third lowest in the state.

The statewide rate had been declining from 9.8 percent in September to 9.3 percent in October and now measures 8.7 percent for November. State Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees said Friday this is the first time Alabama has seen a drop of six-tenths of a percentage point in one month.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates for November are Shelby at 5.4 percent, Coffee at 6.2 percent and Pike at 6.6 percent.

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Alabama’s drop of one-half a percentage point in October tied Michigan and Minnesota for the nation’s biggest decline.

Gov. Robert Bentley said the two consecutive months of big drops show positive momentum for the state’s economy. “Optimism is picking up,” he said at a news conference.

November’s unemployment rate represented 187,720 people looking for jobs. That’s down about 13,000 from the previous month, but the number of people working in Alabama picked up by about 6,000 for November. In Alabama’s biggest counties, Mobile measured 9.1 percent, Montgomery 8.4 percent, Jefferson 7.8 percent, Tuscaloosa 7.0 percent, and Madison 6.9 percent.