Four-county area unemployment rate continues to fall

By Gary Scott on September 24, 2016 at 10:03am

Unemployment rates in West Central Illinois continue to fall and remain among the best in the state.

Ron Payne from the Illinois Department of Employment Security says that the four-county area of Morgan, Scott, Cass and Greene Counties have all hit their lowest figures since prior to 2008.

“Morgan County, at 4.8 percent, that’s the lowest unemployment rate that that county’s had since 2000, and all three of the other counties, this is the lowest rate they’ve had since 2007, which was prior to the recession,” says Payne.

Payne says all four counties’ unemployment rates improved in August of 2016. He breaks down those figures for each county and compares them to state and national averages.

“Morgan dropped from 5.0 down to 4.6 in August of ’16. Scott County dropped from 4.9 down to 4.3, Greene from 6.1 down to 5.3 and Cass County dropped from 5.4 down to 4.9. On the combined area, all four counties, the unemployment rate dropped from 5.3 down to 4.8 percent, and at 4.8 percent, that is lower than the comparable statewide rate of 5.5 percent, and slightly less than the U.S. rate of 5.0,” Payne explains.

Although Illinois lost 82-hundred jobs over the month, Payne says the four-county area has not followed the same trend.

“The local area is fairing much better. What we’re seeing in many of the Metro areas, is a lowering of the overall number of people in the labor force, and that is not necessarily the case in the four-county area, we’re actually up a bit in the total number of people in the labor force. So the unemployment rate in this particular area is going down for the right reasons,” says Payne.

Payne anticipates similar data for West Central Illinois when the September numbers are released next month.