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Plenty of jobs open in county

When Gov. Kay Ivey decided to opt out of federal unemployment benefits related to COVID-19, she wanted to help encourage people to return to the workforce.

In April, Troy and Pike County were facing a severe shortage of employees and employers were competing to hire from a small pool of applicants. Pike County Chamber of Commerce President Dana Sanders said in April that the hospitality, tourism and restaurant industry had been hit hard by the pandemic and that people weren’t returning to work.

Ivey ended federal unemployment benefits related to COVID-19 on June 19. A month later, most franchise restaurants are back to normal hours, dining rooms are reopened and the long lines at drive-thrus aren’t quite so long anymore.

But, there are still jobs out there for anyone looking.

“I don’t have any numbers on restaurants,” Sanders said. “But, from my personal experience, and from driving up and down [U.S. Highway] 231, there are a lot less signs for closed dining rooms or reduced hours.

“As of today, there are 518 job postings in Pike County. So, if someone is looking for a job, there are jobs out there. People are getting back to work and people need to realize how important it is to have a strong economy and how that impacts Pike County.”

The Alabama Department of Labor released its initial unemployment figures for June 2021 and Pike County had 3.4 percent unemployment compared to 6.8 percent unemployment in June 2020 during the height of the pandemic.