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Unemployment rate up slightly

Escambia County’s unemployment rate was virtually unchanged from November to December, rising just slightly from 10.5 percent to 10.6 percent.

Escambia County’s unemployment rate was virtually unchanged from November to December, rising just slightly from 10.5 percent to 10.6 percent.

The state rate also increased slightly, from 9 percent in November to 9.1 percent in December.

A year ago, Escambia County’s rate was 12.5 percent and Alabama’s rate was 10.9 percent.

December’s rate represents 194,686 unemployed persons, compared to 192,335 last month and 224,175 in December 2009.

“Although we did see a small increase in our unemployment rate, we still remain below the national rate, and Alabama did see a net increase in jobs over the past 12 months,” said Tom Surtees, director of the Department of Industrial Relations. “The road coming out of this recession will be a bumpy one, and we have to be prepared to handle the bumps as they come along.”

Over the past 12 months, total nonagricultural wage and salary employment increased 2,600. The majority of these gains came from the leisure and hospitality sector; the trade, transportation and utilities sector; and the government sector.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 6.7 percent, Coffee County at 6.9 percent, and Madison County at 7.0 percent.

The counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 20.0 percent, Greene County at 18.0 percent, and Monroe County at 16.0 percent.