County’s jobless numbers down

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 27, 2010

For the first time in months, Covington County – like the state overall – saw a decrease in its unemployment rate in February.

Figures released Friday from the state Department of Industrial Relations showed the county saw 1,665 claims for unemployment compensation in February – a number down by 125 from the previous month.

Those figures dropped the county’s overall unemployment rate from 11.2 percent in January to 10.5 in February.

Tara Hutchinson, ADIR public information officer, said two things could attribute to the decrease.

“The additional 125 people employed this month could be from companies hiring during the week of the 12th, (which is when totals are calculated) or it could be the fact that unemployment rates are based on residence, so some of those people could have gotten jobs in other counties,” Hutchinson said.

One such company affecting the unemployment numbers is Shaw Industries, who announced last month it was hiring – and will continue to hire – entry-level employees.

Unemployment claims are expected to continue to decline in the coming months in light of announcements of job opportunities at SaeHaeSung, whose expansion is expected to create 150 new jobs, and a proposed biomass refinery in the Florala/Lockhart area.

Covington County is ranked 10th in the state for lowest unemployment. Seven counties recorded single-digit unemployment in January: Madison at 8.3 percent; Shelby at 8.5 percent; Coffee at 8.5 percent; Pike at 8.9 percent; Tuscaloosa at 9.4 percent; Autauga at 9.4 percent and Lee at 9.5 percent.

Another four counties recorded unemployment topping 20 percent: Wilcox at 27 percent, Monroe at 21.4 percent, and Conecuh and Dallas tying at 20.3 percent.

Statewide, Alabama ended February with 11.1 percent unemployment.