Alabama jobless rate unchanged, Black Belt Region tourism

Mar 14, 2016

Alabama's unemployment rate remains unchanged even though the state added more than 8,000 jobs.

A statement from the governor's office released today says the state's unemployment rate for January was 6.2 percent, the same as the month before. Shelby County has Alabama's lowest jobless rate at 4.5 percent, and Clarke County is highest at 12.4 percent.

The Department of Labor says total state employment rose by 8,178 jobs in January, but that wasn't enough to change the unemployment rate. Still, the civilian workforce rose to 2.2 million in the state, the highest in seven years.

Alabama is among 14 states where the jobless rate is unchanged. The unemployment rate decreased in 28 other states and increased in eight.

Alabama’s Black Belt region may see more tourists in the near future.

Officials are hoping this will generate an influx of new dollars by establishing the Black Belt Region as a vacation destination.

Pam Swanner is the director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. She says her organization is partnering with the Retirement Systems of Alabama…

“RSA has contributed to date $4.6 million in value ads, promotion for the region through their T.V. and newspaper holdings and it’s a great way to leverage state funds where there is a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

She adds the region features a number of outdoor activities including hunting and fishing. The Black belt is also home to three Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail courses.

The Mobile County Commission has approved a new school funding package and a facelift for the Metro Jail.

The Commission met this morning and passed several items. One of the key measures the group passed will allow a firm to start planning renovations for Mobile County’s Metro Jail. County law enforcement officials say the facility is more than 20 years old and is beginning to show its age.

Mobile County Administrator John Pafenbach says the main goal of the renovation is to make the jail more efficient.

“A very small part of it is the replacement of some equipment that’s just worn out due to age and use, but that’s really secondary. The overall thrust is to increase the efficiencies of the jail.”

Another measure the Commission passed will use $250,000 in unallocated tax revenue to fund technology upgrades and other improvements at Mobile-area schools.