County jobless rate up 0.4%

Published 11:59 pm Monday, January 26, 2009

Unemployment claims for Covington County rose four tenths of a percent in the month of December, to 6.6 percent, according to a preliminary report released Monday by the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations. Covington County’s unemployment rate in December 2007 was 3.9 percent.

According to the report, the 0.4 percent increase comes after 57 more claims for unemployment were filed in December compared to November 2008.

Covington County saw 1,100 claims for unemployment as 15,672 employees were counted in December.

Alabama’s December unemployment rate rose six tenths of a point to 6.7 percent, compared to 6.1 percent in November. That is an increase of 3 percent from the December 2007 rate of 3.7 percent.

“While our rate continues to rise, along with the rates of the rest of the country, Alabama’s rate is still well below the national rate,” said Tom Surtees, director of the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations. “We want all unemployed Alabamians to know that the Department of Industrial Relations is working to make sure they receive all benefits for which they are eligible in a timely manner.”

The comparable December U.S. jobless rate is 7.1 percent, an increase of sixth tenths of a percent from the October rate. The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in December 2007 was 4.8 percent.

Covington County’s December unemployment rate ranked as the 42nd highest out of 67 counties. The highest unemployment rate in Alabama was in Wilcox County (15.1 percent) and the lowest was in Shelby County (4.4 percent).

Over the last 12 months, employment declined by 41,900. The manufacturing industry recorded the greatest loss, losing more than 17,000 jobs.

For more information on the county’s and state’s unemployment rates, visit