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County jobs numbers better in March

CHAMBERS —March job numbers have been released in Chambers County and for the first time this year the unemployment rate has dropped, from 4.2 percent in February to 3.9 percent in March.

The Alabama Department of Labor reported the Chambers County unemployment rate in March was 3.9 percent, or 570 people, compared to February’s 636 people.

The unemployment numbers are also better than they were a year ago, when 697 people were unemployed, or 4.6 percent of the workforce population.

The civilian labor force also decreased to 15,049 people from 15,090 in February, while the number of people employed in Chambers County increased, from 14,454 in February to 14,479 in March. Nineteen other counties had unemployment rates lower than Chambers, including nearby Lee County at 3.6 percent. Coffee County in south Alabama tied Chambers County with a 4.2 percent unemployment rate as well. Neighboring counties also saw decreased unemployment. Lee County went from 3.8 percent to 3.6, Randolph went 3.9 percent from February’s 4.2 percent and Tallapoosa fell to 4.1 percent from 4.3 percent.

Statewide, Alabama’s unemployment rate dropped from 4.2 percent in February to 3.9 percent in March, or 91,626 people in February to 84,269 in March, a difference of 7,357 people.

Wage and salary employment increased in March by 12,600, compared to February 2018. Monthly gains were seen in the leisure and hospitality sector (+4,600), the professional and business services sector (+2,500), the trade, transportation, and utilities sector (+1,900), and the construction sector (+1,600), among others.

In March, 2,081,906 people were counted as employed, up from February’s count of 2,080,346, and significantly higher than the March 2017 count of 2,063,770.

Average weekly earnings in the construction sector were $975.53 in March, the highest in a decade, up $64.25 from February, and up $87.99 from March 2017. Average weekly earnings for all private industry were $811.01 in March, up $4.96 from February, and up $28.16 from March 2017.

“All of our major cities and metro areas saw their unemployment rates drop both over the month and over the year,” continued Washington. “Sixty-six of 67 counties saw their rates drop this month, and all counties have significantly lower rates now than they did a year ago. We can also once again say that all of our counties have single digit unemployment rates, as Wilcox County had both the largest monthly and yearly drop to bring its rate down to 9.4%.”