Alabama workforce development heads tout resources

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The economic downturn is taking a toll on Alabama but workforce development officials say the state is in a better position than others.

The officials say there are still jobs to be had.

More than 50 Alabama businesses have downsized or closed since January and that's affected more than 8,000 workers.

The state's unemployment rate has grown to nearly six percent after starting the year at 3.7 percent.

Still, Matthew Hughes, director of the Governor's Office of Workforce Development, says several employers across the state are seeking qualified workers.

He says there are especially jobs in the aviation, maritime and health care industries.

Alabama Industrial Development Training, which is part of the Alabama Community College System, is also looking to fill several thousand jobs.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) AP-NY-12-15-08 1837EST