Local unemployment rates reach lowest figure in over a decade

By Gary Scott on August 29, 2016 at 6:43am

Unemployment rates in West Central Illinois are among some of the lowest in the state.

According to a recent report from the Illinois Department of Employment Security, Morgan County’s unemployment went from five-percent last July to 4.6 this year. Scott County dropped from 5.2 to 4.3 percent, Greene County unemployment fell from 6.3 down to 5.5 percent and Cass County moved from 5.8 percent to five percent.

Ron Payne of the Illinois Department of Employment Security provides a look at the combined rates for the four-county area and which industries saw the most impact.

“On the four-county area combined, in total they dropped from 5.4 percent last year down to 4.8 percent this year in July. The four-county area gained 500 non-farm jobs over the year and we saw a one-hundred increase in retail, a hundred up in professional and business services, an increase of one hundred in wholesale trade and one hundred up in educational and health services. The only loss that was recorded was in manufacturing in the four-county area was down about fifty over the year,” says Payne.        ,

As for how those figures compare to other Illinois counties and the rest of the country, Payne says West Central Illinois fairs very well.

“Greene County and Cass County, this was the lowest unemployment rate they’ve had since 2007, and in Morgan and Scott County, it’s the lowest rate since 2001. The four-county combined rate is well below the U.S. rate and the Illinois rate and as a matter of fact, some of the lowest unemployment rates in the state are located in West Central Illinois. Pike County and Scott County are tied for the sixth lowest rate in the state and Morgan County is the twelfth lowest rate in the state,” says Payne.

Similar trends were seen throughout much of Illinois, as the state unemployment rate fell from 6.2 to 5.6 percent.