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Jobless rate at 2-year low

Covington County’s unemployment rate fell to the lowest point in almost two years in December.

Figures released by Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees on Friday showed that Covington County’s unemployment rate in December was 8.4 percent. That’s the first time it’s been below 8.5 percent since January 2009.

While the county’s unemployment rate ticked downward three-tenths of a percentage point in December, the state’s rate ticked up one-tenth of a percent to 9.1 percent. That’s a slight increase from November’s rate of 9.0 percent but significantly lower than the year-ago rate of 10.9 percent.

December’s rate represents 194,686 unemployed persons in the state, compared to 192,335 last month and 224,175 in December 2009.

“Although we did see a small increase in our unemployment rate, we still remain below the national rate, and Alabama did see a net increase in jobs over the past twelve months,” said Surtees.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby County at 6.7 percent, Coffee County at 6.9 percent, and Madison County at 7.0 percent. The counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox County at 20.0 percent, Greene County at 18.0 percent, and Monroe County at 16.0 percent.