Jobless figures bring good news for state, county

Published 11:00 pm Friday, October 19, 2012

Good news for Alabama’s economy once again. New unemployment figures released this week show the state’s jobless rate fell to 8.3 percent, down from 8.5 percent in August and 8.8 percent last year.

Here in Pike County, the unemployment rate was at 7.4 percent.

Alabama Labor Department officials say the drop follows a trend for the past several months. In fact, “nearly every indicator we measure is well below pre-recession levels,” said Tom Surtees, labor director.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Despite high rates in area such as Dallas County and the Black Belt, Alabama has weathered the recent economic downtown better than most areas, in part due to our state’s diversified economic base.

And that same diversification continues to benefit Pike County, where jobless rates at times have been among the lowest in the state. A broad base that includes agriculture, defense industry work, trucking, manufacturing, recycling, technology, education, retail, health care and distribution has provided employment opportunities throughout the economic downtown.

That stability comes from the years-long investment of civic, government and economic development leaders who continue to seek ways to grow and diversify Pike County’s economic base. It is slow, quiet work but as the numbers indicate, it pays dividends for all of us.

We hope, as Gov. Robert Bentley said this week, the trend in unemployment rates signals positive growth ahead.