County jobless rate climbs to 10.2%

Published 12:02 am Saturday, July 23, 2011

After months of recording declining unemployment rates, and recording rates lower than the state average, Covington County’s jobless rate climbed to 10.2 percent in June.

The last time unemployment was that high was in January 2010, when it rose to 10.4 percent, Jenna Murphy, spokesperson for the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations said.

Some 1,683 Covington County residents were unemployed in June, which is up from the 1,420 claims in May when the county had an 8.7 percent jobless rate.

The highest unemployment rate in Covington County was 16.7 percent in February 1982, Murphy said.

Statewide, the unemployment rate rose more than a point to 9.9 percent.

Industrial Relations Director Tom Surtees said there were 213,975 unemployed residents last month.

“While we are disappointed to report any increase in our seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, we keep in mind the contributing factors that led us here,” he said. “We still have hundreds of Alabamians unemployed as a direct result of the tornadoes of last April and the national unemployment rate also continues to rise.

“On the positive side, we have observed an uptick in the number of discouraged workers re-entering the job market in their employment search,” he said.

Surtees said there are 33,000 more residents working in June than in January, but during the same period more than 50,000 came into the workforce.

Neighboring counties all have higher unemployment rates, with the exception of Crenshaw at 10.1 percent and Coffee at 8.4 percent.

Escambia sits at 12.4 percent, Conecuh at 16.7 percent, Geneva at 10.3 percent and Butler at 13.1 percent.