The Illinois Department of Employment Security released job statistics for December this week.
Morgan County rose from 5.3 percent in December of 2014 to 5.5 percent this year, Scott County held steady at 6.8 percent, Greene County went from 6.2 percent to 6.3 and Cass County increased from 5.8 percent to 5.9 percent.
The four-county area combined went from 5.7 percent to 5.8 percent.
Ron Payne from the IDES explains why there was a slight increase in unemployment.
“Many of the areas are seeing an increased amount of people in the labor force. Many of these are new entrants searching for work. As they enter the labor force, they are obviously unemployed. That is what is driving up the unemployment rate at this time.”
Payne says the four-county area saw an increase of 150 jobs over the year.
“We had gains in whole sale trade, transportation warehouse, education, health care and business services. Those were offset by losses in government, leisure and hospitality and the retail sector.”
Payne expects Illinois to see a dip in retail jobs over the next month. Historically the unemployment rate remains stable from December to January.