Alabama unemployment drops to 6.9 percent

Alabama's unemployment rate has dipped to 6.9 percent.

Gov. Robert Bentley said the preliminary April rate is below the 7.2 percent recorded in March and the 7.4 percent measured a year ago.

The latest numbers show approximately 150,000 people are still without work.

Every county in Alabama saw a drop in unemployment. About 10,000 new jobs were added statewide in the month of April.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby at 4.0 percent, Lee at 4.9 percent and Blount at 5.0 percent. The counties with the highest rates are Wilcox at 14.8 percent, Perry at 11.7 percent and Dallas at 11.4 percent.

The overall employment picture continues to improve in North Alabama.

The Huntsville Career Center says the Tennessee Valley has seen a slow, but steady improvement over the last two years.

"This year seems to be markedly better. I think we have seen business improving here locally within a lot of different sectors. The construction industry is bouncing back from a slump it had been in," said Mike Fowler.

Meantime, the career center says industries like education and healthcare remain steady.

Seasonal jobs are giving the market a boost as well. Many outdoor jobs like roadwork, house painting and lawn care are becoming available.

However, experts say the goal is to bring more permanent jobs to the area.

Overall job growth is within new businesses and existing ones, as employers look to add people back to their payrolls.

"We are seeing some new businesses come into the area, which is always a good sign. We are also seeing a lot of employers start to build back up and add new employees after they may have held off for the last couple of years," said Fowler.

Fowler says anything from entry-level jobs to professional careers are becoming available. He also adds this year is a brighter picture for those graduating college.

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