Alabama unemployment rises to 7.2%

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama's unemployment rate rose to 7.2% in February.

The rate announced by the state Department of Labor is up from 6.9% in January and is equal to the rate a year ago. The number of unemployed people looking for work grew by more than 6,000 from January.

State Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said the jobless rate went up even though the number of people working in the state increased by about 3,300. That's because the number of people in the workforce grew by about 9,500. Surtees said that's a positive sign that people who had dropped out of the work force are regaining the confidence to look for work again.

Shelby County had the lowest unemployment at 5.6% and Wilcox County had the highest at 17.6%.

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