Jobless rate steady

Published 12:22 am Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Highest demand for drivers, nurses, retail

Covington County’s jobless rate was slightly higher than the state average in December, with fewer people unemployed here than in the same period last year.

In December, Alabama reported a jobless rate of 6.2 percent, compared with a rate of 6.1 percent in the same month last year. Covington County’s rate was 6.5 percent, compared with a rate of 6.9 percent in the same period last year.

There were 69 fewer people in Covington County who were listed as unemployed here than in the same period last year.

“Although a slight increase in the unemployment rate is never celebrated, this month’s increase is attributed to the fact that the labor force increased by nearly 10,000, while people were out looking for work, seasonal or otherwise,” Alabama Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington said. “December’s labor force count was on par with the summer months, which is traditionally when the most people are searching for work. Increases in the labor force represent increased confidence in the job market.”

Statewide, truck drivers and registered nurses continue to be the most sought-after employees, according to data collected and analyzed by the Alabama Department of Labor’s Labor Market Information Division.

The data showed more than 8,600 online help wanted ads placed for truck drivers, registered nurses and first-line supervisors of retail sales workers in December.

There were 17,802 of those were new ads placed in December.

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers earn a mean wage of $20.15 per hour, registered nurses earn a mean wage of $27.82 per hour, and first-line retail salespersons earn a mean wage of $19.97 per hour.

“More than half of this month’s in-demand jobs pay wages of more than $20 an hour,” said Fitzgerald Washington, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Labor. “We continue to see a huge need for truck drivers and nurses. If these careers are something you’d like to consider, I’d encourage you to come by your local Career Center to find out if you are eligible for training or educational programs at no cost.”

The top three employers posting ads in were: Pizza Hut (771), Community Health Systems, Inc. (746), and UAB Medicine (634).

Forty percent of all online ads are less than 30 days old, and another 37 percent of all ads are less than 90 days old.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 4.1 percent, Elmore and Lee Counties at 4.9 percent, and Autauga, Cullman, and St. Clair Counties at 5.0 percent.

The highest unemployment rates were in Wilcox County (15.3 percent), Clarke County (11.9 percent), and Perry County (10.9 percent).


Covington County’s rate is slightly lower than the rates of its neighbors to the west, and higher than its neighbors to the east. Escambia County recorded 6.9 percent; Conecuh 9.2 percent; Butler 7.3 percent; Crenshaw 5.9 percent; Coffee 5.7 percent; and Geneva 5.4 percent.