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County’s jobless claims continue to fall

The county’s unemployment rate dropped again in December, now down to the state average of 7.1 percent.
The county rate dropped from November’s 7.4 percent total and the state’s average slightly changed from the previous month’s 7.5 percent.
A year ago, the county’s rate was eight percent.
“We are encouraged to see our unemployment rate drop once again,” Gov. Robert 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.”
The December 2012 rate represents 152,638 unemployed persons statewide, down from 162,169 the previous month and 174,443 in December 2011.
The 7.1 percent total in Franklin County represents 939 county resident who filed jobless claims.
The December 2012 rate is also below the national rate of 7.8 percent.
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 and business services sector (+4,500), the leisure and hospitality sector (+3,400) and the trade, transportation and 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.”
The counties with the lowest December 2012 unemployment rates were: Shelby County at 4.6 percent, Madison and Blount Counties at 5.5 percent, and Coffee, Cullman, Lee and St. Clair Counties at 5.7 percent.
The counties with the highest unemployment rates were: Wilcox County at 15.1 percent, Bullock County at 13.1 percent and Perry, Greene and Dallas Counties at 12 percent.
In northwest Alabama, the unemployment rates were: Lauderdale at 6.2 percent, Colbert at 6.7 percent, Lawrence at 7.1 percent, Marion at 7.9 percent and Winston at nine percent.