No rest for state leaders in push to lower jobless rate

Published 6:54 pm Friday, August 16, 2013

“Employers are hiring in Alabama.”

That’s the message Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees shared on Friday as the state’s latest unemployment rate statistics were released.

The numbers bode well for the state, and Pike County. the seasonally adjusted rate for the state is 6.3 percent, more than full point below the 7.6 percent rate reported in July 2012.

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According to the statistics, just more than 135,000 people were unemployed last month – down some 5,000 from June.

And that’s because people are finding work in Alabama.

“The most in-demand jobs posted (on Help Wanted Online) … are relatively high-paying jobs that translate into lifelong careers,” Surtees said. “Additionally, we know that more jobs are coming, as more companies have announced they are locating or expanding in Alabama.”

More jobs = more opportunities for Alabama residents, and that is good news for our state and county.

Alabama officials have done an impressive job of expanding the employment base during the past five years. From the governor’s office to state economic developers to local elected officials, leaders at all levels of our state understand the importance of continuing to recruit, develop and nurture the businesses and industries who can put our state’s population to work. And they understand the importance of good, steady jobs to the growth and development of any community or state.

Gov. Robert Bentley, who made a well-known pledge to forego a salary until jobless numbers hit an aggressively low benchmark, has much as stake in the effort to grow the employment base. “We will contninue to show how Alabama is a great place to do business,” he said Friday. “And we will continue these efforts until everyone who wants a job is able to find one.”

And that is what our state needs.