County’s jobless rate down

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 22, 2010

Covington County’s unemployment rate has dropped nearly 1 percent from March.

This is the third month in a row the county has seen an decrease in the number of unemployed residents.

Reports released Friday by the state department of Industrial Relations show the county earned a 9.4 percent unemployment rate – a decrease from the 10.3 percent March rate and a 2.3 percent difference from the same period last year.

Claims fell by 125 to 1,526 in April, with 207 additional workers added to 14,625 people employed in Covington County.

“Those two good things made employment rise and unemployment drop,” said Tara Hutchison, ADIR public information officer.

Those numbers can be attributed to a recent hiring blitz at Shaw Industries, who announced in February it was hiring – and would 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 16th in the state for lowest unemployment and rounded out a list of 24 counties with single-digit unemployment numbers.

Neighboring counties came in with the following monthly rate: Escambia, 12.2 percent; Conecuh, 18.5 percent; Butler, 13.6 percent; Crenshaw, 9.6 percent; Coffee, 7.7 percent, and Geneva, 9.9 percent.

Statewide, Alabama’s unemployment rate remained unchanged from March at 11 percent unemployment.