County jobless rate higher than state’s

Published 12:02 am Thursday, June 25, 2015

Covington County’s unemployment rate in May was higher than the statewide rate, according to the Alabama Department of Labor.

The jobless rate in Covington County for May 2015 was 7.1 percent, and the state’s rate was 6.1 percent.

Covington County’s April 2015 rate was 6.2 percent, 0.9 percent lower than May’s.

At this time last year, the unemployment rate was at 7.6 percent in the county.

Emilee Gage of the Opp Chamber of Commerce said there are quite a few places in Opp that are hiring, whether it be gas stations of fast food restaurants.

A big key to finding a job is getting your name out there, Gage said.

“Make your resume unique,” she said. “Once you turn it in, give it a week and go back and let them know you’re interested. Make them remember your name.”

Gage said presentation is also important when trying to get a job.

“Make sure your potential employer remembers you,” she said. “Have a solid hand shake, present yourself with grade and put your power suit on.”

Gov. Robert Bentley said the state has added more wage and salary jobs than what was predicted by leading economists at the University of Alabama.

“I am proud to say that only five months into 2015, we’ve added 34,800 jobs, already surpassing job growth predictions,” Bentley said. “Our effort to create jobs is strong, and we will continue until every Alabamian has an opportunity to find a job.”

The statewide number represents a 0.3 percent increase from April to May.

Even though there was an increase in unemployment in the state, Alabama Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington said the news isn’t bad.

“Both employment measures registered gains, which is clear evidence that Alabamians are going back to work,” Washington said. “We haven’t seen wage and salary employment this high in May since 2008. Additionally, household employment also increased by more than 47,000 since last year.”

Covington County is one of 17 counties in the state that have an unemployment rate between 6.9-8.3 percent.

The county with the lowest unemployment rate in May was Shelby County at 4.2 percent. Wilcox County had the highest rate at 15.6 percent.

For the state, wage and salary employment increased in May by 9,400, which raised the total number employed to 1,958,100. Gains were seen in the professional and business services sector, the leisure and hospitality sector, and the trade, transportation and utilities sector, among others. The last time wage and salary employment was equal to or above 1,958,100 was in May 2008, when it was more than 2,000,000.

“It is not surprising to see an increase in the unemployment rate in the summer months due to more people entering the workforce,” Washington added. “Students and recent graduates tend to enter the job market during these times and begin their job searches.”