County jobless rate remains steady

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 17, 2010

The state’s unemployment rate dropped slightly in June, and Covington County’s rate remained steady, evidence of what Coving- ton Cou- nty Econ- omic Develop- ment Commis- sion president Tucson Roberts calls a “slow recovery.”

Covington was one of 35 Alabama counties with an unemployment lower than 10 percent in June. The local rate was 9.4 percent, up three-tenths of a percent from May, but down three-tenths of a percent from the same period last year. The state recorded 1,540 jobless people in the county, which was 18th when unemployment in the state’s 67 counties was ranked highest to lowest.

“Our Covington County economy appears to be in a slow recovery,” Roberts said. “The outlook is positive for the balance of 2010.”

Covington County’s neighbors to the east also have unemployment rates lower than 10 percent. To the west and northwest, the story is different: Escambia County’s unemployment rate is 11.8 percent; Conecuh’s is 17 percent; and Butler’s is 12.9 percent.

Statewide, unemployment dropped to 10.3 percent, down from May’s revised rate of 10.7 percent. June’s rate marks the first time since August 2007 that the seasonally adjusted rate is not higher than the previous year’s rate.

The rate in June 2009 was also 10.3 percent. This rate represents 215,813 unemployed persons, compared to 225,182 in May.

“This is the first significant drop in our unemployment rate that we’ve experienced for some time,” said Tom Surtees, Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director. “We are certainly glad to see it. However, the more than two hundred thousand unemployed Alabamians probably don’t feel this way. I’d like to encourage those who are unemployed to visit one of our Career Centers across the state to receive assistance in finding a new job or receiving technical or educational training.”

June’s wage and salary employment declined by 3,500, with the majority of the loss resulting from seasonal losses in government and education and health services.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates were: Shelby at 7.7 percent, Madison at 7.9 percent, and Coffee at 8.1 percent. The counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox at 23.6 percent, Dallas at 18.5 percent, and Perry at 18.3 percent.