The Illinois Department of Employment Security announced Friday that the unemployment rate fell nearly a full percentage point to 10.2% in the month of September. According to IDES Spokesperson Rebecca Cisco, it was the third month in a row the state has seen the jobless rate fall: “We’re remaining cautiously optimistic in terms of the downward trend in the unemployment rate for Illinois. The largest over-the-month gains [in jobs] were seen in the leisure & hospitality industry, trade, transportation, and utilities, and other services.”
The state also lost 12,000 jobs last month in the professional & business services, government, and health & education sectors. The state’s unemployment rate is 2.3% higher than the national rate of 7.9% for the month.
In West Central Illinois, most counties were between 4 and 7.5% unemployment. Morgan County had the highest rate in the area with 7.4% with Brown, Scott, Pike, and Schuyler all coming in under 6%. Brown County had the lowest of all at 4.1%.
According to Reuters, the economy has lost 22 million jobs since February but has only regained half since record high 14.7% unemployment was hit in April. Notably, some 865,000 women left the labor force last month, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about four times the number of men. Latinas accounted for more than a third of that decline, the report showed. The mass exit of women from their jobs coincided with the start of the U.S. school year, with many children learning online and at home. Federal Reserve officials say that that the rise or fall of new COVID-19 cases will be determinate on how the entire job market fairs for the remainder of the year.