County jobless rate increases

Published 8:12 pm Friday, June 15, 2012

Covington County’s unemployment rate jumped nearly a percentage point from April to May, officials reported Friday.

The Alabama Department of Industrial Relations said the county’s jobless rate was 7.9 percent for May, which is up from April’s 7 percent and March’s 7.7 percent.

Tara Hutchinson, spokesperson for DIR, said she didn’t know why the county’s rate increased.

“The rate is measured during the week of the 12th, so if there was a plant that had layoffs during the week or something that might account for it,” she said. “It appears, though, that Covington County just followed the state in registering a jump. Remember that county data is not seasonally adjusted as the state data is.”

In May, SaeHaeSung, Andalusia’s Hyundai supplier announced it would create 50 new jobs in response to Hyundai’s announcement to add a third shift, which will add to the decline of unemployed people in the area.

Statewide, May’s unemployment rate climbed two percentage points to 7.4 percent.

May’s rate represents 159,218 unemployed residents, compared to 154,012 in April, and 203,806 in May 2011.

“While it’s certainly never a good thing to report an increase in the unemployment, I have to say this one was expected,” said DIR director Tom Surtees. “We traditionally see an increase in the May and June rates as more people enter the workforce in the form of new graduates and education staff who aren’t working during the summer months. In addition, the national unemployment rate rose slightly, and the states usually follow the nation’s lead.”

In Covington County, the civilian workforce increased by nearly 500 people from April to May and the actual number employed increased by 317 people. The actual number of unemployed increased by 169 people.

Nationally, unemployment was up 1 percentage point to 8.2 percent.

The counties with the lowest unemployment rates were: Shelby County at 5.2 percent; Coffee County at 6.3 percent; Limestone County and Autauga County at 6.4 percent. Counties with the highest unemployment rates were: Wilcox County at 16.2 percent; Lowndes County at 15 percent and Dallas County at 13.3 percent.