HISTORIC LOWS: Jobless rate falls in state, county

Published 2:00 am Saturday, November 18, 2017


Alabama’s unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent in October, and Covington County’s jobless rate dropped to 4.1 percent, the lowest it’s been since 2008.

Covington County’s 4.1 percent unemployed is 649 people without jobs, compared to 646 in September, and 1,113 in October of last year. The civilian labor force is 24 members fewer than the same time last year – 15,699 compared to 15,723 last year.

Covington County Economic Development Commission executive director Rick Clifton said the high employment rate is a positive thing to see.

“It means you have people who are willing to work,” he said. “But it can work against you when you are trying to recruit new industry.”

Clifton attributed the higher employment to incremental changes at a number of the county’s employers.

“American Apparel is up. Shaw is strong. Global is trending up in Opp. Huhtamaki is up. Arclin is up. And, Vector is up a bit.”

Clifton said the incremental growth in numerous industries is the healthiest way to grow a local economy.

“It’s great that we’ve been able to sustain when other communities our size have not,” he said.

Gov. Kay Ivey responded to the new record low, saying, “What we are doing is working, and as a result, the people of Alabama are working.”

“Today’s numbers show that we currently have the fewest number of unemployed people in history, measuring some 77,000; but that means 77,000 Alabamians, men and women, are still without work. I will persist in my efforts to put every Alabamian who wants to work in a good paying job by recruiting high-wage, high-skill industries to Alabama.”

October’s rate represents 77,358 unemployed persons, the lowest number ever recorded, compared to 82,562 in September and 133,875 in October 2016. 2,079,576 people were counted as employed, compared to 2,069,094 in September and 2,046,861 in October 2016.