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Covington unemployment holds steady at 3 percent

The unemployment rate for Covington County remained steady at 3 percent for August, according to Alabama Department of Labor statistics.

The number of unemployment claims across Covington County increased by only three with 449 in July and 452 in August. The 3 percent unemployment rate in Covington County represents a large decrease from last year’s pandemic rate of 5.6 percent.

The seasonally adjusted August unemployment rate for the state is 3.1 percent, down from July’s rate of 3.2, and well below August 2020’s rate of 7.1. August’s rate represents 69,005 unemployed persons, compared to 71,678 in July and 156,709 in August 2020. This is an over-the-year drop of 87,704.

“Alabama continues our streak of dropping unemployment, getting more of our people back to work and able to provide for their families, and we are seeing our jobs count and wages consistently rise,” Governor Ivey said. “Employers in Alabama have jobs to fill, and they’re doing so at a good pace. We’re proud of the progress Alabama is making as we continue to overcome the challenges we faced due to the pandemic. Alabama is working again, and we know our work is not done yet.”

Total private average weekly earnings rose to $993.35 in August, up from $980.56 in July and $942.57 in August of 2020.

Over the year, wage and salary employment increased 54,200, with gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (+20,700), the manufacturing sector (+10,300), and the professional and business services sector (+7,300), among others.

Over the month, wage and salary employment increased in August by 1,500. Monthly gains were seen in the government sector (+7,100), the professional and business services sector (+3,400), and the financial activities sector (+400), among others.

“We are working hard every day to reach out to those employers who still need assistance in finding employees, while at the same time working to reach those who are still looking for work, or those who are looking to advance their careers,” said Alabama Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. “Right now is a great time to search for a job, as wages have once again hit a new record high in Alabama. Both employers and jobseekers can obtain free services by visiting any of our local career centers. We’re here to help in any way we can.”

In neighboring counties, Butler saw a decrease in unemployment, dropping from 5.5 percent in July to 5.1 in August. Coffee and Geneva counties recorded the lowest rate in the immediate area with a rate of 2.9 percent, although both of those counties recorded very slight increases from July rates of 2.8 and 2.9, respectively. Conecuh dropped from 5 percent in July to 4.9 in August. Crenshaw County saw a 1 percent increase for an August rate of 3.2 percent. Escambia also went up 1 percent, from 4 percent in July to 4.1 in August.

Statewide, the counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 2.1 percent, Cullman County at 2.3 percent, and Marshall, Limestone, and Blount counties at 2.4 percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 11.1 percent, Lowndes County at 9.2, and Perry County at 9 percent.

Major Alabama cities with the lowest unemployment rates are: Alabaster, Homewood, and Vestavia Hills at 2 percent, Hoover and Madison at 2.2, and Athens at 2.4.

Major cities with the highest unemployment rates are: Selma at 9.1 percent, Prichard at 8.8, and Bessemer at 6.2.

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