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FRIDAY, JANUARY 20, 2006
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State's December unemployment rate reaches record low

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Alabama's unemployment rate of 3.5 percent in December was the lowest on record in the state and significantly less than the 5.3 percent rate recorded a year ago, Gov. Bob Riley announced Thursday.

"Alabama's economy continues gaining strength and gathering momentum," Riley said in a statement that plugged one of his legislative proposals. "Unemployment is the lowest it's ever been. One way we can help sustain our growth is by passing the tax cuts I've proposed."

He has proposed a broad tax cut package aimed at reducing taxes on the poor and families with children. He said it would lower income taxes of all Alabama taxpayers.

The December rate was lower than the 3.6 percent unemployed in November, which was the lowest rate recorded since 1976. State industrial relations officials confirmed that the 3.5 percent rate for December is the lowest on record.

The December unemployment rate was far below the national rate of 4.9 percent.

December marks the 11th consecutive month Alabama's unemployment rate has been below the national rate.

On the Net: Department of Industrial Relations, www.dir.alabama.gov; Office of the Governor, www.governor.state.al.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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