Major retail store closures create fluctuating job market in Central Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — JC Penney, Sears, Kmart and Macy’s are just a few of the major department stores that have announced closures recently. Thousands of people are losing their jobs nationwide and Central Alabamians will definitely feel the impact of these closures.

We know Macy’s is in the process of closing dozens of stores. Right now, it seems the stores in Alabama are safe, which are the locations in the Riverchase Galleria and the Brookwood Mall.

JC Penney is closing more than 100 stores nationwide, four of which are in Alabama.

Kmart announced it was closing its store in Jasper late last year and then surprising to some, Chick Fil A in the Jasper mall announced it was closing after 35 years.

Right now, one of the fears is that some of the recent retail closures could be reflective of the overall job market. Experts tell CBS42 that the jobs are out there. They say it’s just about connecting the right people to the right employers.

Larry Sailes with Still Serving Veterans says that present some challenges, especially for veterans.

“One of the challenges we were facing here in the Central Alabama area was getting veterans into our office, we were having some come in but not the numbers that we were looking for,” said Sailes.

He says that’s why job fairs are key to connecting job seekers to employers, especially in a fluctuating job market.

Depending on who you talk to, though, the job market in Central Alabama is in good shape.

Plenty of companies are hiring in Central Alabama.

The new Publix distribution center is hiring 300 workers, Grupo Antolin is hiring 150 workers. In Bessemer, U.S. Steel is hiring at their pipe mill and Flex N Gate is expanding.

Linda Patterson with Kelly Services says she’s seeing similar trends across the board.

“There is a market, I think the light industrial field that’s on the rise including office administration as well, there’s a lot out there,” said Patterson.

Many experts say the issue right now is making sure job seekers know where those jobs are.

Birmingham City Schools is hosting its own job fair Thursday at Carver High School at 4 p.m.

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