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Jobless rate rises in Chambers County

CHAMBERS — Chambers County saw an increase in unemployment for the month of January, which was in line with the state rate.

The Alabama Department of Labor reported Chambers County’s January unemployment rate was 3.9 percent, compared to 3.3 percent in December and 5.3 percent in January last year. In actual numbers, Chambers County had 593 unemployed compared to 494 in January and 810 a year ago.

The county’s civilian labor force shrunk slightly to 15,078 people, from December’s 15,187, which is much lower than January 2017’s 15,241.

Ten counties had lower unemployment rate than Chambers, including nearby Lee County at 3.7 percent. Four other counties tied with Chambers at 3.9 percent, including Cherokee, Jefferson, Limestone and Morgan counties.

Neighboring counties also saw increased unemployment. Lee County went from 3 percent in December to 3.7 percent in January.

Randolph and Tallapoosa both went from 3.4 percent in
December to 4.2 percent in January. All numbers for January 2018 are
lower than the previous year.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 3 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.

Statewide, Alabama’s unemployment rate rose from 3.4 percent to 4.1 percent, although seasonally adjusted unemployment actually dropped by .1 percent.

In a statement released Monday, Gov. Kay Ivey commented on the seasonally adjusted rate, “As we start a new year, we’re pleased to announce that we’re starting off with a new record low unemployment rate. Nearly 40,000 fewer people are counted as unemployed, also setting a new record low. We have been working hard for months to bring quality, high-paying jobs to Alabama, and we’re putting our people back to work. We will
continue this work in 2018, and we hope to maintain these fantastic numbers.”

“It is not uncommon for preliminary rates to be adjusted as more precise data becomes available, especially around highly seasonal periods, such as the holidays,” said Fitzgerald Washington, Secretary of the Department of Labor. “Even with the adjustments, we are still in an extremely good place. It was recently announced that our yearly average unemployment rate in 2017 dropped more than any other state in the country.
Our wage and salary employment continues to show yearly increases, and all 67 counties have experienced significant yearly drops in their unemployment rates, some as high as 4.9 percentage points.”