Jobless rate at 6-year low

Published 1:11 am Saturday, January 24, 2015

Alabama’s jobless rate was the lowest it has been in six years in December.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced Friday that Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted December unemployment rate is 5.7 percent, down from November’s rate of 6.0 percent, and below December 2013’s rate of 6.1 percent.

Covington County’s rate was steady, increasing only a tenth of a percentage point. The rate was 6.3 percent in December, compared to 6.2 percent in November and 6.6 percent in December of 2013. The calculation for December represents 1,002 unemployed people.

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased by 31,800 in Alabama, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+8,800), the construction sector (+7,200), and the manufacturing sector (+7,100), among others. Employment in the construction sector is at its highest point since November 2010, when employment was 85,100. Current employment in the construction sector stands at 84,100.

“This year, Alabama experienced the highest annual percentage of job growth since 2007,” Alabama Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington said. “We are continuing to recover from the devastating effects of the recession, and our rate of annual job growth reflects that.”

Shelby County had the lowest jobless rate at 3.7 percent, followed by Lee County at 4.1 percent, and Cullman County at 4.2 percent. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are Wilcox County at 12.5 percent, Bullock County at 10.7 percent, and Lowndes and Dallas Counties at 10.1 percent.

The six counties surrounding Covington had the following rates: Escambia, 6.7 percent; Conecuh, 8.8 percent; Butler, 6.8 percent; Crenshaw, 4.8 percent; Coffee, 4.8 percent; and Geneva, 5.1 percent.