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In August, Unemployment Drops Again In Washington County, Stagnates Elsewhere

Unemployment rates decreased over-the-year in August in all of Illinois’s metropolitan areas and all but one county, according to preliminary data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). Data also show nonfarm jobs increased in twelve of the metropolitan areas and decreased in two.

“More areas showed job gains in August, but the pace of growth is not where we would like it to be,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “While it is encouraging that unemployment rates declined from last year, most areas in Illinois are still higher than the national average.”

In Washington County for August however, the unemployment rate again dropped between this year and last.

August 2016, the Washington County unemployment rate was 3.8-percent, while in 2017, it had dropped down to 2.9-percent

Illinois businesses added jobs in twelve metro areas, with the largest increases in: Carbondale-Marion (+2.3 percent, +1,300), Bloomington (+1.9 percent, +1,700), and Lake (+1.6 percent, +6,600). Total nonfarm jobs in the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights Metro Division increased (+0.5 percent or +18,700). Illinois businesses lost jobs in two metro areas: Danville (-1.8 percent, -500) and Elgin (-0.4 percent, -900).

The industry sectors recording job growth in the majority of metro areas included Mining and Construction (10 of 14), Professional and Business Services (9 of 14), Educational and Health Services (9 of 14), and Leisure and Hospitality (8 of 14).

Not seasonally adjusted data compares August 2017 with August 2016. The not seasonally adjusted Illinois rate was 5.2 percent in August 2017 and stood at 12.2 percent at its peak in this economic cycle in January 2010. Nationally, the not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in August 2017 and 10.6 percent in January 2010 at its peak. The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and looking for work, and is not tied to collecting unemployment insurance benefits.

Metro East Highlights – Help Wanted

Area employers advertised for 5,600 openings in August and approximately 79 percent sought full-time employment, according to Help Wanted OnLine data compiled by the Conference Board.

The August 2017 unemployment rate for the Illinois Section of the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area was 4.9 percent, a decrease of (-1.0%) from the August 2016 rate of 5.9 percent. The number of employed individuals decreased by 983 to 324,301 in August 2017 from 325,284in Aug. 2016. The labor force decreased by 4,807 to 341,013 in Aug. 2017 from 345,820 in Aug. 2016.

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