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Alabama jobless rate drops to 6.2 percent

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December 20, 2013 11:13 AM EST | AP


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama's unemployment rate is again down to a five-year low of 6.2 percent after the jobs picture improved in every county in the state, officials said Friday.

The governor's office said the state jobless rate dropped two-tenths of a percent in November, down from October's revised rate of 6.4 percent.

The 6.2 percent rate matched a five-year low that was also achieved in July and August, and it also was below the U.S. unemployment rate of 7 percent.

The November rate represented 132,381 people without jobs in Alabama, compared to 148,956 people without work at the same time a year ago.

Gov. Robert Bentley said unemployment improved in each of the state's 67 counties for November.

"Every Alabama county has a decrease in their unemployment rate for November, and that is a sign that Alabamians are getting back to work in both rural and urban areas of Alabama," Bentley said in a statement.

Shelby County, located in metro Birmingham, had the state's lowest jobless rate at 3.6 percent. West Alabama's Wilcox County was highest at 13.9 percent.

Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said seasonal retail hiring helped lower the unemployment rate.

"This traditionally happens during the months of November and December as employers prepare for the Christmas shopping rush," he said.

Retail operations saw an increase of almost 8,000 jobs, but statisticians also recorded improvements in trade, transportation and utilities. Government employment also grew along with education, health care and manufacturing.

Alabama's unemployment rate has not been at or below 6.2 percent since the beginning of the recession in October 2008, when the state jobless rate was 5.9 percent.