Tom Surtees en Ala. Jobless Rate Drops To 7.5 Percent <P>Alabama's unemployment rate fell sharply to 7.5 percent in November, a drop officials say was helped by holiday hiring.</P> <P>The state Department of Labor said Friday the number represents 162,182 people who were jobless last month.</P> <P>The state's unemployment rate was below the national rate of 7.7 percent, and it's down six-tenths of a percent from October.</P> <P>The rate of 7.5 percent is also well below the year-ago rate of 8.3 percent.</P> <P>Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees says the numbers show Alabama employers are expecting a strong holiday shopping season. Fri, 21 Dec 2012 22:24:16 +0000 Ryan Vasquez 22296 at Ala. Jobless Rate Drops To 7.5 Percent Alabama Jobless Rate Rises To 8.3 Percent Alabama's preliminary unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent in July, up from 7.8 percent in June. Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees announced the new jobless figures in a statement Friday. He said the state's jobless rate represents 179,535 unemployed persons, compared to 168,602 last month and 202,311 in July 2011. Surtees says the state agency sees more partial unemployment claims in July and December than any other month, and last month was no exception. Partial unemployment claims, which are filed by workers who have been laid off for a period less than th Fri, 17 Aug 2012 22:02:04 +0000 Associated Press 16449 at Alabama Jobless Rate Rises To 8.3 Percent