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Unemployment takes 2017 nosedive

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By Alton Mitchell
Correspondent

Job growth in Alabama showed positive signs of growth through the majority of 2017 and now the impact of declining unemployment figures in 2017 are showing as the state of Alabama led the nation last year with the lowest unemployment figures in the country.

According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state of Alabama experienced the largest over the year drop for unemployment in 2017. The agency reports that Alabama saw a drop of 1.5 percentage points in its unemployment rate last year. The state dropped from a rate of 5.9% to 4.4% of the year.
The drop was the highest in the nation. Alabama was trailed by Wyoming that came in second with a drop of 1.1% and Tennessee with a drop of 1.0%. Alabama Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said, “We’ve been working very hard, collaborating with Governor Kay Ivey, other state agencies, county, and local governments, and Alabama’s employers to bring down our unemployment rate.”

The state closed out the year with a rate of 3.5% in December. A drastic drop from where the state started its year with a rate of 5.9%. Chambers County was no exception to the declining unemployment. In January 2017, Chambers County started the year off with a rate of 6.0%. As the year close out the rate in Chambers County dropped to 3.2 in January to give the county an annual average of 4.2% for 2017.

During the vast majority of 2017, Chambers County saw drops on a month to month basis however, in the month of June the counties unemployment rate rose from 3.7% to 4.7%. Declines followed in July and August, but unemployment rates in Chambers County remained above 4% for those months. As holiday hiring began in the late summer and early fall unemployment estimates in Chambers County began to drop once again only remaining stagnant in the months of October and November which showed no change in reported rates as 3.4%.

Early estimates for 2018 are projected to be released in mid-March according to the Alabama Department of Labor.