Jobless rate remains steady in Butler, state

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 24, 2007

Alabama's jobless rate declined slightly from March to April, according to statistics released by the state's Department of Industrial Relations.

The unemployment rate statewide fell by one-tenth of a percentile, from 3.4 percent in March to 3.3 percent in April.

Gov. Bob Riley said Alabama's good economic fortune could continue if voters approve a constitutional amendment on June 5 to increase the limit on the state's economic incentive fund.

&#8220We have a strong economy in Alabama today, but we can make it even stronger with the approval of this amendment on June 5,” said Riley. &#8220As we've seen just recently, the competition for new jobs is intense. To compete and win, we must be able to offer economic incentives. These incentives are an important tool to recruit new industries to our state and to help our existing industries.”

Earlier this month, Alabama was able to convince ThyssenKrupp to build its $3.7 billion plant in Mobile. To lure the German company, the state offered an exclusive $400 million incentive package.

A constitutional amendment goes before voters on June 5 would raise the current $350 million limit on the Capital Improvement Trust Fund to $750 million. Riley said the increase is necessary for Alabama to continue offering economic incentives. The Capital Improvement Trust Fund is funded from royalties paid to the state by oil and gas companies operating off Alabama's coast.

Neil Wade, Director of the Alabama Development Office, said the June 5 vote is critical to Alabama's future.

&#8220We have the opportunity to set the stage for a decade of growth in Alabama, but only if this amendment is approved,” he said.

Unemployment in Butler County dropped as well, according to the ADIR.

Butler County's unemployment rate in April was 4.2 percent, compared to 4.9 percent in March.

In surrounding counties, Crenshaw and Covington reported 2.9 percent and 2.6 percent unemployment, respectively. Conecuh County's unemployment rate was 4.3 percent. Wilcox County had the highest among central Alabama counties at 6.8 percent.

Butler County's unemployment rate in April 2006 was 4.4 percent.