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Dallas County unemployment rate rises

The unemployment rate for Dallas County rose in December, and it’s likely it’ll rise more.

The rate of 12.8 percent placed Dallas County fourth highest in the state with Perry County at 12.8 percent right behind. Wilcox lead the state in unemployment with a rate of 15.1 percent. Chambers followed with 14 percent, and Winston came in third at 13.1 percent.

Wayne Vardaman, executive director of the Selma & Dallas County Economic Development Authority, said Dallas County’s rate included the closure of the cigar plant in November and subsequent layoffs at other plants in the county.

“I expect it to keep jumping,” he said.

Bush Hog has laid off people from its plant. Globe Metallurgical has filed papers with the state and city, saying it will close temporarily on March 22.

The layoffs and increases in unemployment are a statewide problem. The state’s unemployment rate rose to the highest in 15 years at 6.7 percent.

“Everybody’s skid about the same,” Vardaman said. “Everybody’s come up.”

Sam Addy, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama, has predicted the state’s unemployment will continue to get worse until it peaks at 8 to 8.4 percent in the last half of 2009.