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Chambers’ unemployment rate rises to 7.9 percent


The Alabama Department of Labor released preliminary unemployment figures for the month of July in the state last week. The statewide rate rose to 7 percent in July as every county in Alabama saw an increase in their jobless rate. Chambers County’s rate increased half a percentage point to 7.9 percent in July from 7.4 percent in June.

The county saw an increase in the civilian labor force from 14,837 in June to 14,865 in July, while employment dropped to 13,685 in July compared to 13,738 in June. There were 1,180 unemployed individuals in Chambers County in July compared to 1,099 in June.

Last months numbers were better than in July of 2013, in which Chambers County’s unemployment rate was 8.5 percent. At that time the civilian labor force was 15,080, there were 1,281 unemployed individuals and 13,799 employed.

Chambers County was ranked 40th out of Alabama’s 67 counties in unemployment in July, above the 2013 average ranking of 32nd. Chambers was ranked 38th in June.

Chambers County had favorable numbers compared to surrounding counties. Randolph County posted a 8.6 percent unemployment, ranking 35th in the state. Tallapoosa County ranked 18th with an 9.6 percent rate; Clay County was at 9.2 percent, ranking 28th; Macon County was at 10.2 percent, ranking 14th. Lee County was the only neighboring county with a lower rate than Chambers, posting a 6.2 percent rate, ranking 65th.

For the second consecutive month, Chambers County’s rate was higher than the statewide rate of 7 percent, which rose from 6.8 percent in June.

July’s state rate represents 148,791 unemployed persons, compared to 144,868 in June and 138,612 in July 2013. There were 1,986,908 employed persons last month compared to 1,994,899 in June and 1,999,446 in July 2013. The state’s civilian labor force fell in July to 2,135,699 compared to 2,139,767 in June.

“It is not uncommon in the summer months to see the unemployment rate rise because school employees aren’t working during these months,” Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington said. “This is proven out in our wage and salary data this month, which shows the largest decrease in jobs came from the local education sector.”

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates are: Shelby County at 5.3 percent, Baldwin County at 6.1 percent, and Lee County at 6.2 percent. Counties with the highest unemployment rates are: Wilcox County at 18.4 percent, Dallas County at 16.3 percent, and Perry County at 15.7 percent.