Scott County Unemployment Rate Still Seeing Effects of Westermeyer Fire

By Benjamin Cox on March 18, 2023 at 5:45am

Unemployment rates were down in all 14 Illinois metro areas in January. One West Central Illinois county is seeing the fallout from a fire, causing the unemployment rate to remain high.

The Springfield Metro Area added 3,800 jobs last month for a 3.6% unemployment rate, which was the second largest over-the-year increase in jobs.

Westermeyer Industries continues to recover from a fire that leveled 70,000 square feet of its campus in August. They are currently in the process of building a 97,000-square foot replacement. According to a Scott County Times report, the company was back to 75% of its output 12 weeks after the fire. The full staff was said to have gotten back to the facility and working overtime by January. According to the numbers from the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the return to work has not been reflected in the county’s unemployment rate just yet. Scott County is listed as having a 7.2% unemployment rate, which is out of kilter for the rest of the region.

Morgan, Greene, and Cass are all hovering between 4.3-4.8% unemployment, which is up from the previous month. Pike & Schuyler are both just above 5%, while Brown County remains the lowest in the region at 2.2% unemployment.

The unemployment rate decreased over-the-year in 98 Illinois counties, increased in 3, and was unchanged in 1.