Jobless rate up 1.3 percent

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 11, 2011

Covington County’s unemployment rate increased by 1.3 percent in January, but is still lower than it was a year ago.

The January unemployment rate here was 9.8 percent, according to figures released by the Department of Industrial Relations Thursday. In January of 2010, 10.6 percent of the county’s residents were unemployed.

The state’s unemployment rate was 9.3 percent in January.

Covington County still fares well when compared to surrounding counties. In Escambia County, the jobless rate was 11.4 percent; in Conecuh County, 15.9 percent; and in Butler County, 12.1 percent. Geneva County’s rate was slightly lower at 9 .0 percent, while Crenshaw’s rate was 9.5 percent. Coffee County continues to enjoy one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state at 7.6 percent.

“Although we did experience a slight increase in our January unemployment rate, we continue to see positive signs that our economy is, in fact, recovering,” said DIR director Tom Surtees. “We are paying out fewer dollars in unemployment compensation benefits for a lesser number of weeks, which shows us that people are going back to work more quickly. Also, our online jobs database currently has more active job orders than at any point since 2006, with the exception of the months following last year’s oil spill.”

—Michele Gerlach