Governor Robert Bentley on Friday announced that Alabama's preliminary December 2012 unemployment rate is 7.1%, down from November's rate of 7.5% and below December 2011's rate of 8.0%.
The December 2012 rate represents 152,638 unemployed persons, down from 162,169 the previous month and 174,443 in December 2011.
The December 2012 rate is also below the national rate of 7.8%.
"We are encouraged to see our unemployment rate drop once again," Governor Bentley said. "Over the past 12 months, we've seen the total number of unemployed persons drop by nearly 22,000. Still, we must remember that many people are looking for work. Job creation remains my number-one priority, and I will continue working every day to bring more jobs to Alabama."
Figures from the Alabama Department of Labor show annual gains in wage and salary employment were seen in the manufacturing sector (+7,600), the professional & business services sector (+4,500), the leisure & hospitality sector (+3,400) and the trade, transportation & utilities sector (+2,500).
"While the decrease in the number of unemployed persons is certainly welcomed, along with the other positive signs we've been seeing recently, we will continue to work to improve the employment picture in Alabama," Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said. "Governor Bentley and our Department of Commerce are working to bring jobs to the state, and the staff in our Career Centers will continue to work to help the unemployed and underemployed find the right career."
Assistance in finding a job, writing a resumé and receiving educational or vocational training opportunities can be found at any of the state's 47 local Career Centers. A listing of Career Centers can be found at www.joblink.alabama.gov.
The counties with the lowest December 2012 unemployment rates were: Shelby County at 4.6%, Madison and Blount Counties at 5.5%, and Coffee, Cullman, Lee and St. Clair Counties at 5.7%. The counties with the highest unemployment rates were: Wilcox County at 15.1%, Bullock County at 13.1% and Perry, Greene and Dallas Counties at 12.0%.