November jobless numbers down

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 21, 2013

Thanks to seasonal retail hiring, the county’s unemployment rate has dropped nearly a whole percent from last month’s figure.

Figures released from the department of industrial relations show that Covington County experienced a 6.3 percent unemployment rate for November – that’s down from the 7 percent reported in October and the 6.9 percent reported for the same period last year.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced Friday that state’s preliminary seasonally adjusted November unemployment rate is 6.2 percent, down from October’s revised rate of 6.4 percent.  November’s rate represents 132,381 unemployed persons, compared to 137,160 in October and 148,956 in November 2012.

In Covington County, the figure represents the 1,012 claims for unemployment compensation filed last month – 108 fewer claims than were filed in October.

“The long-term trend in Alabama’s unemployment rate is encouraging news for Alabamians who want a job,” Bentley said. “Every Alabama county has a decrease in their unemployment rate for November, and that is a sign that Alabamians are getting back to work in both rural and urban areas of Alabama. There is still much work left to be done, however, until Alabama reaches full employment, and our efforts to recruit more jobs will continue.”

November’s rate represents the third time this year that Alabama’s unemployment rate has been at its lowest in five years.  Both July and August 2013 registered preliminary unemployment rates of 6.2 percent as well. The last time the unemployment rate was at or below 6.2 percent was in October 2008, when the rate was 5.9 percent.

“Not surprisingly, it appears as though seasonal hiring, especially in retail establishments, helped to lower our unemployment rate,” Alabama Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said.  “This traditionally happens during the months of November and December as employers prepare for the Christmas shopping rush.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates were: Shelby at 3.6 percent, Lee at 4.5 percent, and Cullman, St. Clair, and Cherokee at 4.7 percent.  Counties with the highest unemployment rates were: Wilcox at 13.9 percent, Bullock at 11.9 percent, and Perry and Dallas at 11.1 percent.