County jobless rate slightly down
Published 12:26 am Monday, November 30, 2009
By By Kerry Whipple Bean
The county unemployment rate saw a slight decrease last month, while the state rate inched up to almost 11 percent.Escambia County’s rate was down from 13.1 percent in September to 12.7 percent in October. But the region’s unemployment rates remain high, with neighboring Conecuh County at 20.5 percent, the third highest in the state, according to the Department of Industrial Relations.
Escambia and Conecuh counties are part of the five-county Coastal Gateway Regional Economic Development Authority. Monroe County, also part of that group, saw its jobless rate rise from 19.4 to 20.1 percent in October, while EDA member Washington County’s rate was down slightly form 15 percent to 14.9 percent.
EDA member Clarke County’s rate was down from 17.3 percent to 16.9 percent — but New Era Cap Co. announced earlier this month it would be closing its Jackson factory, a loss of 392 jobs. Those numbers are not factored into the unemployment rate and would likely affect both Clarke and Washington counties.
About 12,000 Alabama residents without jobs have qualified for extended unemployment benefits signed into law Nov. 6. DIR Director Tom Surtees said those residents are already receiving those benefits.
DIR has asked those claimants whose benefits exhausted on or before Nov. 14 to begin certifying for extended benefits. Claimants can certify online at www.dir.alabama.gov or by calling 1-800-752-7389.
Counties with the lowest unemployment rates were Shelby at 7.4 percent, Madison at 7.5 percent and Coffee at 8.3 percent. The only counties with higher jobless rates than Conecuh were Wilcox at 25.1 percent and Dallas at 21.9 percent.