Rockford’s unemployment rate remains highest in state, 3,000 jobs created in past year

Online Staff Report

Although the Rockford metropolitan area continues to have the highest unemployment rate in the state, 3,000 jobs have been created since August 2011, according to data released Sept. 27 by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).

The Rockford metropolitan area’s unemployment rate was 11.7 percent in August, down from 11.8 percent in July 2012 and 13.8 percent in August 2011.

The year-over-year drop of 2.1 percentage points is the largest decrease among the state’s 12 metropolitan areas.

The August local unemployment rate fell in 11 metro areas compared to 2011. The largest declines were Rockford (2.1 points to 11.7 percent), Chicago-Joliet-Naperville (1.7 points to 8.8 percent), Kankakee-Bradley (1 point to 11.4 percent) and Peoria (1 point to 8 percent). The state NSA rate has dropped every month this year.

Payrolls increased in seven metros, fell in three and were essentially unchanged in two. The largest increases were Peoria (plus 2.3 percent, plus 4,200 jobs), Rockford (plus 2.1 percent, plus 3,000 jobs) and Bloomington-Normal (plus 1.7 percent, plus 1,500). Chicago-Joliet-Naperville also added jobs (plus 1 percent, plus 35,000 jobs). Sectors increasing in the most metros included Manufacturing (11 of 12) and Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities (nine of 12).

This economic cycle is filled with small up-and-down movements in the monthly data, and August shows falling unemployment rates in nearly every corner of our state,” said IDES Director Jay Rowell. “While the uneven movements shadow the progress that we have made, stronger economic growth will occur when consumer confidence improves.”

The August 2012 Illinois unemployment rate was 8.9 percent and 12.3 percent at its peak in this economic cycle in January 2010. Nationally, the unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in August and 10.6 percent in January 2010 at its peak.

The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and looking for work, and is not tied to receiving benefits.

Following are the unemployment rates per metropolitan area, listed from highest to lowest:

1. Rockford — 11.7 percent (13.8 percent in August 2011, an increase of 3,000 jobs)

2. (tie) Decatur — 11.4 percent (11.2 percent in August 2011, a decrease of 300 jobs); and

Kankakee-Bradley — 11.4 percent (12.4 percent in August 2011, an increase of 100 jobs)

4. Danville — 11 percent (down from 11.1 percent in August 2011, a decrease of 600 jobs)

5. St. Louis (Illinois section) — 9.4 percent (10.1 percent in August 2011, a decrease of 3,300 jobs)

6. (tie) Champaign-Urbana — 8.8 percent (9.3 percent in August 2011, an increase of 200 jobs);

Chicago-Joliet-Naperville — 8.8 percent (10.5 percent in August 2011, an increase of 35,000 jobs); and

Lake (Ill.)-Kenosha (Wis.) — 8.8 percent (9.4 percent in August 2011, an increase of 1,600 jobs)

9. Peoria — 8 percent (9 percent in August 2011, an increase of 4,200 jobs)

10. Springfield — 7.9 percent (8 percent in August 2011, zero jobs lost/created)

11. Bloomington-Normal — 7.3 percent (7.8 percent in August 2011, an increase of 1,500 jobs)

12. Davenport-Moline-Rock Island — 7.2 percent (7.5 percent in August 2011, an increase of 200 jobs)

Posted Sept. 27, 2012

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