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July sees decrease in unemployment, more jobs

CHAMBERS — Following a month where unemployment and the labor force rose across the state, July saw a decrease in unemployment and a rise in the labor force and employment in Chambers County.

According to a report from the Alabama Department of Labor, Chambers County saw unemployment drop from 750 people in June, or 4.9 percent, to 715 people in July, or 4.6 percent. This is higher than they were a year ago, when 639 people or 4.2 percent of the workforce was unemployed.

Inversely, the civilian labor force rose slightly, from 15,396 people in June to 15,412 people in July, a difference of 16 people but higher than in 2017 when the labor force was at 15,157 people strong.

Employment was also higher in July with 14,697 holding down jobs compared to June’s 14,646, a difference of 51 people. Employment in 2017 was at 14,518 people, 179 people fewer than now.

Thirty-three other counties had unemployment rates lower than Chambers, including nearby Lee County at 4.1 percent and Randolph County at 4.4 percent. Only one other county ties with Chambers with a 4.6 percent unemployment rate, Bullock County.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rate include Shelby County at 3.1 percent, Cullman County at 3.5 percent and Baldwin, Elmore and Marshall counties at 3.7 percent.

Counties with the highest unemployment rate include  Wilcox County at 11.2 percent, Clarke County at 9.1 percent and Perry County at 8.6 percent.

Statewide, Alabama’s unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted, stayed at 4.1 percent.

However, the  actual unemployment numbers showed an increase of 1,685 people, from 89,302 in June to 90,987 in July.

Offsetting this, employment numbers show the state saw more people working in July with 2,105,513 people compared to June’s 2,098,121, a difference of 7,392 people.

In a statement released by Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington, he said, “We continue to break employment records in Alabama. Nearly 30,000 more people are working now than they were last year.  The message is clear, Alabama: we have jobs!”

“Those jobs are coming with higher wages,” continued Washington. “We’ve seen wages increase both over the month and over the year.  In fact, workers in Alabama are earning more weekly than they have in the past 11 years.”