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County unemployment down to 6.1% in November


Chambers County’s unemployment rate once again made a substantial dip, falling to 6.1 percent in November according to a report released by the Department of Labor on Friday. The current rate is the lowest the county has seen since October 2007, when the rate was 5.9 percent. October’s revised unemployment rate for the county was 6.8 percent.

Chambers County is now ranked 35th out of Alabama’s 67 counties compared to an average of 19th in 2012.

The November rate represents 885 unemployed individuals, down from 992 in October. There were 13,710 employed persons in the county in November, compared to 13,574 in October.

In November of 2012, Chambers County’s unemployment rate was 7.8 percent, representing 1,131 unemployed persons and 13,389 employed persons.

“As I was sitting here with Senator (Gerald) Dial and County Engineer (Josh) Harvill, working on plans for a new project, we were all pleased to see this months rate,” Chambers County Development Authority Executive Director Valerie Gray said. “Aside from Lee County, Chambers County is lower than our surrounding neighbors. The CCDA and county will continue to work tirelessly to keep the momentum going and bring job opportunities to our citizens”

The statewide November unemployment rate is 6.2 percent, down from October’s revised rate of 6.4 percent. November’s rate represents 132,381 unemployed persons, compared to 137,160 in October and 148,956 in November 2012.

“The long-term trend in Alabama’s                      unemployment rate is encouraging news for Alabamians who want a job,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “Every Alabama county has a decrease in their unemployment rate for November, and that is a sign that Alabamians are getting back to work in both rural and urban areas of Alabama. There is still much work left to be done, however, until Alabama reaches full employment, and our efforts to recruit more jobs will continue.”

November’s rate represents the third time this year that Alabama’s unemployment rate has been at its lowest in five years. Both July and August 2013 registered preliminary unemployment rates of 6.2 percent as well. The last time the unemployment rate was at or below 6.2 percent was in October 2008, when the rate was 5.9 percent.

“Not surprisingly, it appears as though seasonal hiring, especially in retail establishments, helped to lower our unemployment rate,” Alabama Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees said. “This traditionally happens during the months of November and December as employers prepare for the Christmas shopping rush.”

Wage and salary employment increased 4,100 in November, with the majority of the growth in the trade, transportation, and utilities sector, including retail trade, which saw an increase of nearly 8,000 jobs. Growth was also seen in the government, education and health services, and manufacturing sectors.

Counties with the lowest unemployment rates were: Shelby County at 3.6 percent, Lee County at 4.5 percent, and Cullman, St. Clair, and Cherokee Counties at 4.7 percent. Counties with the highest unemployment rates were: Wilcox County at 13.9 percent, Bullock County at 11.9 percent, and Perry and Dallas Counties at 11.1 percent.

Other area rates are Randolph County at 6.2 percent, Tallapoosa County at 6.8 percent, Clay County at 6.7 percent, Macon County at 7.6 percent and Russell County at 6.7 percent.