State, county unemployment dips from October

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 29, 2005

Alabama and Butler County's unemployment rates took a dip in November, after rising slightly the month before.

Butler County's unemployment rate fell from 6.4 percent in October to 5.3 percent in November, according to statistics released by the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations. Statewide, the unemployment rate dropped from 5.4 percent to 3.6 percent in November, the lowest Alabama has seen since 1976 and possibly ever.

&#8220There's no question, there's no doubt, there's no debate:

Alabama's economy is the best it's been in a long, long time,” Gov. Bob Riley said in a prepared statement.

&#8220For the second straight year, we're going to have a net gain of jobs.

Our workers and our economic development strategy are succeeding.”

In the past year, the number of employed Alabamians jumped by almost 48,000 people, a number in large part related to the opening of the Hyundai plant.

Ricky McLaney, Executive Director of the Butler County Commission for Economic Development, said Hyundai suppliers in Greenville are still actively recruiting employees. He said Hysco is still looking to hire between 75 and 100 people, while Hwashin is expected to hire an additional 100 employees by May 2006.

McLaney also expects Kia Motors American to make a long anticipated announcement to build a manufacturing and assembly plant near the Hyundai facility in Montgomery.

He said the announcement should come some time next year and will mean even more jobs for Butler County.

&#8220Kia wants to use the same network that Hyundai uses,” he said. &#8220If Kia comes that will mean a whole new building for Hwashin.”

McLaney said, historically, the unemployment rate takes a downward turn between the months of November and December.

&#8220It always does that,” he said. &#8220It could be because people are hiring more employees because of the holidays. For example, our unemployment rate dropped six-tenths of a point last year for December, and we could see the same thing this year.”

Alabama's unemployment rate in November 2004 was 5.4 percent, two percentage points above the current rate.

The state rate also is below the national average of 5 percent.