Jobless rate rises in Champaign-Urbana, Danville areas

Jobless rate rises in Champaign-Urbana, Danville areas

Even though unemployment rates have climbed the last two months, four Illinois metropolitan areas are seeing encouraging signs.

Decatur, Peoria, Chicago and Rockford – all of which are home to heavy industry – had lower unemployment rates in July than they did a year ago.

Unfortunately, the state's other eight metropolitan areas saw solid increases in unemployment over the year.

The Champaign-Urbana metro area – which includes Champaign, Ford and Piatt counties – had a 9.8 percent unemployment rate in July, up from 9 percent a year ago.

The Danville metro area – which consists of Vermilion County – had a 12.4 percent rate, up from 11.8 percent a year ago.

In a somewhat surprising development, the Quad Cities tied with Bloomington-Normal as the Illinois metro areas with the lowest unemployment rates in July.

In recent years, Bloomington-Normal has usually had that distinction to itself. But its rate moved up from 8 percent in June to 8.4 percent in July, while the Quad Cities rate remained at 8.4 percent.

The moderation of unemployment in the Decatur area seemed to have an effect on surrounding counties. Piatt, Moultrie and DeWitt counties had the lowest rates of all East Central Illinois counties – 8.8 percent, 9.1 percent and 9.3 percent, respectively.

What's more, Piatt was the only East Central Illinois county where the rate stayed the same as in June.

Rates for all other area counties went up.

Piatt and Moultrie both had lower unemployment rates than they did in July 2009.

Vermilion County's unemployment rate rose slightly – from 12.3 percent in June to 12.4 percent in July. The county seat, Danville, saw no change in July; its rate remained at 14.4 percent.

The state Department of Employment Security estimated 4,796 Vermilion County residents were out of work and looking for a job in July, while 33,749 had jobs.

Champaign County's unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent in July, up from 9.5 percent in June. An estimated 10,362 county residents were out of work and looking for a job in July, while 95,066 held jobs.

The unemployment rate in Urbana was a full point higher than that of Champaign. Urbana's rate was 10.8 percent in July, up from 10.3 percent in June. Champaign's was 9.8 percent in July, up from 9.5 percent in June.

Here are the July unemployment rates for other East Central Illinois counties and their change from June:

– Coles, 10.8 percent, up from 10.2 percent.

– Douglas, 9.7, up from 9.5.

– Edgar, 11.2, up from 10.5.

– Ford, 10.4, up from 10.1.

– Iroquois, 9.9, up from 9.3.

– McLean, 8.4, up from 8.

The statewide unemployment rate was 10.3 percent when adjusted for seasonal variations.

Of the state's 102 counties, only seven had unemployment rates of 8 percent or lower – Brown, Schuyler, Menard, Cass and Adams (all clustered in west central Illinois), plus Woodford and Jo Daviess.

The counties with the highest unemployment rates were in the Rockford area: Boone County, at 16.4 percent, and Winnebago County, at 15.6 percent.

The Rockford metro area's unemployment rate fell to 15.7 percent in July, down from 16 percent a year earlier.

Decatur's rate dropped to 12.4 percent, down from 13.9 percent. Peoria's rate dipped to 10.5 percent, down from 12.8 percent. Chicago's rate slid to 10.5 percent, down from 10.8 percent.

-