• 50°

February jobless rate rises in Chambers

CHAMBERS — Just over a week ago it was reported that Chambers County’s unemployment rate had increased in the month of January from 3.3 percent to 3.9 percent. Now the February numbers are out and they show that number has risen to over four percent.

The Alabama Department of Labor reported Chambers County’s unemployment rate in February was 4.2 percent, or 640 people on unemployment in February compared to 593 in January. Last year there were 806 on unemployment.

Interestingly, the civilian labor force also grew, from 15,082 people in January to 15,228 people in February, and employment also grew from 14,489 people to 14,588.

Twenty other counties had unemployment rates lower than Chambers, including nearby Lee County at 3.8 percent. Three other counties tied with Chambers, including Coffee, DeKalb and Montgomery.

Neighboring counties also saw increased unemployment. Lee County went from 3.7 percent to 3.8 and both Randolph and Tallapoosa counties went from 4.2 percent to 4.3. in February. All numbers are lower than they were this time in 2017.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rate are: Shelby County at 3.1 percent, Cullman County at 3.6 percent and Marshall, Madison and Blount counties at 3.7 percent. Counties with the highest unemployment are: Wilcox County at 10.5 percent, Clarke County at 8 percent and Lowndes County at 7.4 percent.

Statewide, Alabama’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.3 percent from 4.1 percent, although seasonally adjusted unemployment actually stayed the same.

“The fact that we are able to maintain our record low unemployment rate for yet another month shows that we are, in fact, keeping Alabamians working,” said Governor Kay Ivey. “Once again, we can announce that we have the fewest number of unemployed people in history. More people are working, and our economy is adding jobs. This is a combination I’m proud of, and one we hope to maintain for many more months to come.”

“We have maintained a wage and salary employment count of over two million for eleven months in a row now,” said Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. “Not long ago, we were looking forward to just attaining that ‘magic number.’ We are consistently adding jobs to our economy. These numbers show that employers are confident in the economy and are continuing to hire.”