Chambers paces nation reducing unemployment

on June 10, 2015

Chambers paces nation reducing unemployment

By CY WOOD, Editor-Publisher

LANETT — Chambers

County's unemployment rate has been steadily declining from the time the county had the highest unemployment rate in the state. How steady has that decline been? According to Site Selection Group's newsletter for May 2015, Chambers County, Ala., had the largest decrease in unemployment for any county in its size range since 2009. In other words, over the past six years, Chambers County has led the nation in job creation in what Site Selection Group classifies as Tier 6 counties (less than 49,999 population). In October 2009, Chambers County's unemployment rate was 20.4 percent. Chambers County Development Authority Director Valerie Gray was surprised by the top ranking, especially being compared to other, similar Alabama counties. Surprised perhaps by the ranking, but not by the trend in decreasing unemployment. "The CCDA has worked diligently toward creating jobs for Chambers County residents," Gray said. "Just recently, we commissioned a comprehensive workforce analysis to further continue the county's already significantly lower unemployment rate." The latest numbers from the Alabama Department of Labor underscore just how successful the county has been in creating jobs. In April 2015, Chambers County's unemployment rate fell to 5.2 percent from 5.6 percent in March. That's a nation-leading 72.1-percent decline since October of 2009, which is the largest percentage decline of any metropolitan area in the country. That reflects an increase of employment to 14,342 in the county, from March's 14,156, a net gain of 186 jobs. During the month the county's civilian labor force grew by 33 to 15,134, and unemployment in the county fell to 792 from 845 in March. The county's employment performance contrasts with a slight uptick in Alabama's overall unemployment rate. It rose to 5.8 percent in April from 5.7 percent in March. "Teamwork is the foundation of our success," Gray said. "From commissioners, councils, towns, cities — all parties have been part of the process. We will continue to recruit and diversify our manufacturing base." April was a good month for employment among surrounding counties as well. Lee County saw its rate fall to 4.4 percent from March's 4.7 percent, Macon dropped to 7 percent from 7.5 percent, Randolph fell to 5.4 percent from 5.8 percent and Tallapoosa dropped to 5.7 percent from 6.5 percent.

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