- Associated Press - Friday, December 19, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama’s unemployment rate dropped to 6 percent, the lowest point since 2008, yet still remains worse than the national average, according to statistics released Friday.

The preliminary, seasonally adjusted jobless rate for November showed nearly 2 million people were working in the state and almost 126,000 were unemployed.

Gov. Robert Bentley’s office said the November jobless rate was an improvement from October, when the rate was 6.3 percent, and it also was an improvement from a year ago.

“Alabama’s unemployment rate has not only continued its downward trend, but has reached a level we have not seen in more than six years,” Bentley said in a statement.

Alabama’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was last at or below 6 percent in October 2008, when it was 5.9 percent.

Wage and salary employment grew by 7,700 to 1.95 million, and the annual increase in wage and salary employment represented job growth of 1.75 percent, the highest since June 2006.

Monthly gains occurred in sectors including trade, transportation, utilities, education, health services and government.

“The job growth we are experiencing in Alabama is encouraging,” Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington said in a statement. “What is even more encouraging is that of the sectors in which we are experiencing the most growth, three sectors have average annual salaries of more than $45,000.”

Shelby County had the state’s lowest unemployment at 3.8 percent, and Wilcox County has the worst joblessness at 12.2 percent. None of the state’s 67 counties had an increase in unemployment.

Unemployment is trending downward nationally. U.S. employers added 2.65 million jobs in the first 11 months of the year, making 2014 the best year for hiring since 1999.

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