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Employment rates remain steady

Covington County’s jobless rate ticked up slightly from December, but remained at 5 percent in January.

That’s one of the lowest rates recorded since the Recession, and 1.3 percent higher than the statewide average in January of 3.7 percent.

Covington County Economic Development Commission Director Rick Clifton said Monday he believes local job rates remain steady because of the businesses and industries the county has been able to retain.

“Our area has done a better job than most rural areas in maintaining what we have,” Clifton said. “Employment has ticked up at American Apparrel, and MFG has hired some people. We have fared better than most in keeping what we’ve got over the years, and that’s where we are mostly gaining.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 3.0 percent, Cullman County at 3.5 percent, and Marshall, Madison, Elmore, and Blount Counties at 3.6 percent. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 10.4 percent, Clarke County at 8.1 percent, and Lowndes County at 7.5 percent.

Rates in counties surrounding Covington are: Geneva, 4.3 percent; Coffee, 4.1 percent; Crenshaw, 4.4 percent; Butler, 5.3 percent; Conecuh, 5.4 percent; and Escambia, 4.7 percent.