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Latest Local Unemployment Release Reveals Slow Progress for Illinois

The latest unemployment numbers have come out and locally, White County’s rate is up slightly.  The March unemployment rate for White County is 5.6%.  That compares to 3.7% in March of 2020, still a month before the first case of CoViD-19 was reported in the area.  The rate is up .2% from February of this year when it was 5.4%.  The Gallatin County unemployment rate meanwhile dropped .4% from the previous month, 6.8 in February, down to 6.4% for March.  Hamilton County remains flat from February to March at 4.9%, but it’s nearly one and a half points higher than March of 2020.  Neighboring Wayne County also remained nearly flat with a rate of 5.4% in the latest release.  It was 5.3% in February, though just 4.2% in March of 2020.

For the region, total non farm employment decreased, a negative 725 jobs compared to March of 2020.  Employment gains meanwhile were posted in Trade, Transportation, and Utility industries.  There were net losses of employment in Natural Resources and Mining (-225), Leisure and Hospitality (-150), Education and Health Services (-125), Government (-100), and Manufacturing (-75).  Losses of 50 or less were noted in professional and business services, construction, and financial activities and information.

The state’s economy is recovering from the pandemic, but at a slower rate than neighboring states.  The Land of Lincoln added 32,200 jobs from mid-February to mid-March.  Illinois unemployment rate is the highest of all Midwestern states at 7.1%, which equals about 436,400 looking for work, according to an analysis by the Illinois Policy Institute.  The national average unemployment rate is 6%.

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