Unemployment holds steady
By Scott Mims
The unemployment rate for Chilton County remained unchanged from July to August, at 9.8 percent.
Chilton County’s jobless rate held steady for the month of August at 9.8 percent. The state’s employment rate increased to 10.4 percent. The county rate for August 2009 is more than 5 percent higher than last year’s annual average of 4.5 percent.
Meanwhile, the Alabama unemployment rate for August rose to 10.4 percent, up from 10.2 percent in July, state Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees announced Friday.
��While every state in the country continues to struggle with high unemployment, I want the unemployed in Alabama to know that there is help available to them,” Surtees said. “There are many unemployment compensation extension programs and even more job training programs available.”
Over the past several months, Congress has passed two unemployment compensation benefit extensions, and last month, Gov. Bob Riley signed a law entitling qualified unemployed Alabamians to up to an additional 20 weeks of unemployment compensation benefits.
This means that Alabamians are now eligible for up to 79 weeks of unemployment compensation benefits.
Claimants can file for unemployment compensation benefits online at www.dir.alabama.gov or by calling 1-866-234-5382.
The Alabama Career Center System also provides services free of charge to the unemployed and underemployed, as well as to employers. Career counseling, job search assistance, and training assistance are only some of the programs available at any of Alabama’s 43 Career Centers.
“I’d like to encourage those who need help to take advantage of these opportunities,” Surtees said.
August’s rate represents 217,306 unemployed persons in Alabama. Wage and salary employment decreased by 11,100 over the month.
Most of the monthly downturn occurred in the sectors of hospitality and leisure, financial activities, trade, transportation, and utilities, and construction.
Monthly gains occurred in the educational and health services sector, and the professional and business services sector.
The counties with the lowest unemployment rate were: Shelby and Madison at 7.6 percent, Coffee at 8.5 percent, and Baldwin and Lee at 8.7 percent. The counties with the highest unemployment rate were Wilcox at 25.4 percent, Dallas at 21.3 percent, and Conecuh at 19.9 percent.