Jobless rates drop in August

Jobless rates drop in August

CHAMPAIGN — Unemployment rates in East Central Illinois were generally lower in August than they were in July — and also lower than a year earlier.

Champaign County's rate was 8.9 percent in August, down from 9.1 percent in July and 9.3 percent in August 2011, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

Vermilion County's rate was 11 percent in August, down slightly from 11.1 percent in July. The rate budged only a bit from its August 2011 rate of 11.1 percent.

County and metropolitan area rates released Thursday by the state are not adjusted for seasonal variations. As a result, July and August figures may not be directly comparable with each other.

Of the other nine counties in East Central Illinois, one county saw its unemployment rate increase from July to August, and another had no change in rate. The other seven counties all had decreases.

Here are the August rates for those nine counties, along with the change from July:

— Coles, 10, down from 10.5.

— DeWitt, 8.1, down from 8.2.

— Douglas, 8.4, down from 8.6.

— Edgar, 9.7, unchanged.

— Ford, 9, down from 9.7.

— Iroquois, 8.4, up from 8.2.

— McLean, 7.3, down from 7.7.

— Moultrie, 7.6, down from 8.

— Piatt, 8, down from 8.6.

Among area cities, Danville had the highest unemployment rate in August — 12.1 percent, down from 12.3 percent in July. Champaign's rate dropped from 9.5 percent to 9.1 percent, and Urbana's fell from 10.8 percent to 10.3 percent.

The department said an estimated 8,493 people in Champaign County were out of work and looking for a job in August, while 86,993 were employed.

In Vermilion County, an estimated 3,893 people were out of work and seeking work, while 31,385 were employed.

Brown and Woodford counties in central Illinois had the lowest rates among Illinois counties, at 5.1 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively.

The highest county rates were 12.3 percent in Franklin County in southern Illinois and 1 percent in Winnebago County in northern Illinois.

Of the 12 metropolitan areas in Illinois, 11 had lower unemployment rates than they did a year earlier. The exception was Decatur, where the rate rose from 11.2 percent to 11.4 percent.

Two other metro areas had only scant drops: Danville's rate edged down from 11.1 percent to 11 percent, and Springfield's rate slid from 8 percent to 7.9 percent.

Over the past year, the Danville metro area — which includes all of Vermilion County — has gained a net of 300 manufacturing jobs, while losing 200 net jobs in retail trade and 200 net jobs in education and health services.

The Champaign-Urbana metro area — which includes Champaign, Ford and Piatt counties — fared better, as its rate fell from 9.3 percent to 8.8 percent. Over the past year, the metro area has seen a net increase of 900 jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector and a net decrease of 1,000 jobs in the government sector.