Jobless rates fall in state, county

Published 8:10 am Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Unemployment rates in Covington County and throughout Alabama dropped in May, continuing an encouraging trend.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the state of Alabama was 4.9 percent, down from April’s rate of 5.4 percent and significantly lower than May 2016’s rate of 5.8 percent. In Covington County, the rate was 5.4 percent, down from 5.7 percent in April and 6.3 percent in May 2016.

“Over the past three months, our unemployment rate has fallen by an impressive 1.3 percentage points,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “May’s figures represent the lowest unemployment rate in more than nine years and more people working now than in the last ten years.”

The last time Alabama’s unemployment rate was at or below 4.9 percent was March 2008 when it measured 4.8 percent. The last time Current Population Survey (CPS) employment measured at or above 2,089,217 was March 2007, when it was 2,090,126.

“Fifty thousand more people have jobs now than they did last year,” Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said. “Increased confidence in our economy is evidenced by not only that fact, but also that our employers are reporting the highest wage and salary employment numbers in almost a decade. In fact, this is the fourth highest wage and salary employment count since we started keeping records in 1939.”

Wage and salary employment, totaling 2,014,600, increased in May by 13,100. Monthly gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector (+6,100), the construction sector (+3,100), and the manufacturing sector (+1,500), among others.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are Shelby County at 3.1 percent, Elmore County at 3.4 percent, and Cullman County at 3.5 percent. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 10.9 percent, Clarke County at 8.0 percent, and Lowndes County at 7.4 percent.