Jobless rate lowest in 20 months at 8.6%

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 23, 2010

Covington County’s unemployment rate dropped slightly in September to 8.6 percent, a 20-month low.

The county’s civilian workforce is 16,655 people, with 1,426 of those unemployed.

The last time the county was at or below 8.6 percent was in January 2009 when it was at 8.5 percent after jumping from 6.6 percent in December 2008.

Statewide, unemployment dropped to 8.9 percent, which is down from the 9.2 percent reported in August.

The last time Alabama’s unemployment rate was at or below this level was in February 2009, when the rate was 8.7 percent.

“This is the fifth month in a row that Alabama has seen a decline in its unemployment rate,” Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees said Friday. “Once again, our rate is below the national average of 9.6 percent, and we recently had some good news that several of our metro areas have experienced some of the largest drops in unemployment in the nation.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that five of the nation’s top 10 metropolitan areas with the biggest declines in unemployment are located in Alabama.

Florence-Muscle Shoals, Decatur, Anniston, Gadsden and Tuscaloosa were recognized.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates were Shelby at 6.8 percent, Madison at 7.1 percent and Coffee at 7.2 percent. The counties with the highest unemployment rates were Wilcox at 20.9 percent, Greene at 19.8 percent and Dallas at 17.2 percent.