State official: Unemployment rate likely to remain unchanged
by DAVID ATCHISON
Sep 16, 2009 | 1650 views |  7 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PELL CITY – A state official said he doesn’t expect to see much change in the unemployment rate when new numbers are announced Friday.

Tom Surtees, director of the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations, would not say Tuesday if state unemployment numbers were up or down for August, but he said the public will know Friday.

“I don’t think it will change much one way or the other,” Surtees told Pell City Rotary Club members at their Tuesday luncheon in the Pell City Civic Center.

Surtees, who took over as the director of the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations in 2004, talked about unemployment and jobs in St. Clair County.

He said the unemployment rate in Alabama is lower than most southeastern states.

“To the unemployed, how we compare to other states doesn’t mean anything,” he said.

Surtees said the unemployment rate in St. Clair County is the same as the state average, 10.6 percent.

He said there are 3,747 unemployed workers in St. Clair County and 224,994 statewide. Only about 93,000 people are receiving unemployment compensation.

Surtees said 43 percent of the workers in St. Clair County actually live in St. Clair County. About 17-percent of workers who live in St. Clair County work in Jefferson County, while about 9 percent of the workers who live in St. Clair County work in Talladega County.

Surtees said 44 percent of St. Clair County workers are between the ages of 35-54, while 40 percent of the workforce in St. Clair County is 34 or younger. Workers 55-years-old and older make up about 16 percent of the workforce in St. Clair County

He said the average weekly wage for a St. Clair County worker is $619. The averaged weekly wage in Alabama is $791.

Surtees said the largest industry group in St. Clair County is the retail trade industry, which employees almost 3,000 workers. Manufacturing accounts for about 2,154 jobs in St. Clair County.

He said in St. Clair County 1,721 people work in accommodation and food services, 1,606 people work in education services, 1,529 people work in construction, 1,486 people work in health care and social assistance, 1,168 people work in public administration and about 1,115 St. Clair County employees work in wholesale trade industry.

Surtees said the Department of Industrial Relations website, JobLink.Alabama.gov, has about 5,000 job listings for people looking for a work, and there are more than 100,000 resumes posted for review by potential employers.