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County unemployment rates higher than state average\

By Staff
Jonathan Willis
Franklin County's unemployment rate remains a full two-percent higher than the state average according to numbers released Friday.
The county's unemployment rate for the month of April was 11.2 percent. That number is significantly higher than the 2008 annual average of 6.7 percent.
The county now ranks 22nd in the state in the rankings of highest to lowest unemployment rates.
The state average for April remained at nine percent for the second month in a row. This is the first time the rate has not increased in 18 months.
"The fact that our unemployment rate has held steady since last month indicates that we may finally begin to see some relief from the recession," Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees said.
"While we still have many in our state that are unemployed, we are starting to see increases in some job sectors and decreases in the number of jobs being lost throughout the month. Hopefully, these trends will continue."
April's rate represents 191,678 unemployed people, 1,220 less people than in March
2009. Over the month, 6,200 jobs were lost, mostly in the sectors of manufacturing,
professional and business services, and construction. There was an increase in the sectors
of leisure and hospitality, other services, and government.
While the state is still registering monthly job losses, the number of jobs lost is significantly lower than earlier in the year. In January 2009, Alabama lost 40,600 jobs, compared to 6,200 this month, which represents a difference of 34,400.
The counties with the lowest unemployment rates were Shelby at 5.8 percent, Madison at 5.9 percent and Coffee at 6.2 percent.
The counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox at 22.2 percent, Chambers at 17.3 percent and Lowndes at 17.1 percent.