Stats show more people working; more also looking for jobs

Published 12:14 am Saturday, March 29, 2014

Jobless rates in Covington County ticked up slightly in February, mirroring state rates, which also were slightly higher than in January.

Alabama’s unemployment rate was 6.4 percent in February, up from January’s rate of 6.1 percent. Similarly, Covington County’s rate inched up to 8.4 percent from 8.1 percent in January.

 To see a map of rates statewide, click here.

Alabama had 6.6 percent unemployment, and Covington County had 7.7 percent, in the same month last year.

“Although we saw an uptick in the state’s unemployment rate, we also saw an increase in the number of people working, as well as the number of people in the labor force,” Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said. “These indicators, combined with an increase in the number of jobs reported by employers, tell me that more people are out in the workforce – either looking for jobs or working, and that is certainly good news.”

The numbers are somewhat misleading, as there were only six fewer people employed in February than in January (14,508 working as compared with 14,514 in January), but there are more people seeking work. (1,325 people seeking work in Covington County in February, compared with 1,282 people in January, a difference of 43 people.

Statewide, wage and salary employment, which is the measure of how many jobs Alabama’s economy supports and is reported by employers, increased 8,700 over the month. Gains were seen in the professional and business services sector (+3,000), the government sector (+2,700), the education and health services sector (+1,600), and the leisure and hospitality sector (+1,200), among others.

“Additionally, we continue to see high numbers of jobs posted on JobLink, the state’s free online jobs database, and online ads for jobs statewide top 48,000,” Surtees said.

There were 18,955 active job orders placed on JobLink in February. The Help Wanted Online (HWOL) data show that 48,213 job ads were placed online in February.