Area jobless rates not much better than last year
Unemployment rates in East Central Illinois haven't changed much in the past year, with Vermilion County's rate remaining stubbornly high.
Data released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security showed:
— Champaign County's unemployment rate in March was 7.8 percent, up from 7.7 percent in March 2012.
— Vermilion County's rate in March was 10.8 percent, up from 9.7 percent in March 2012.
— March rates for DeWitt, Edgar and Moultrie counties were up from a year earlier, while rates for Douglas, Ford and Piatt were down and rates for Coles, Iroquois and McLean were unchanged.
All 11 counties in East Central Illinois saw sharp declines in unemployment rates from February to March. But the figures aren't adjusted for seasonal variations, making March-to-March comparisons more meaningful.
Here's a closer look at the employment situation in Champaign and Vermilion counties:
— In Champaign County, the number of employed people in March was higher than a year earlier (92,766 vs. 92,031), but so was the number of unemployed (7,846 vs. 7,662).
There was job growth over the year in government, leisure-hospitality and education-health services, but job shrinkage in information, manufacturing and retail trade.
— In Vermilion County, 3,859 people were unemployed in March, up from 3,510 a year earlier. Meanwhile, the number of employed people fell to 32,003, down from 32,628 a year earlier.
The county saw over-the-year job gains in retail trade and financial activities, but job losses in manufacturing, government and professional-business services.
As usual, McLean County had the lowest jobless rate among counties in East Central Illinois — 6.9 percent, down from 8.1 percent in February.
Here are the March rates for other area counties and the change from February:
— Champaign, 7.8, down from 9.2.
— Coles, 8.5, down from 9.9.
— DeWitt, 8.5, down from 10.1.
— Douglas, 7.8, down from 9.3.
— Edgar, 9.7, down from 11.4.
— Ford, 8.4, down from 10.1.
— Iroquois, 9.3, down from 11.1.
— Moultrie, 7.4, down from 9.
— Piatt, 8.1, down from 9.3.
— Vermilion, 10.8, down from 12.4.
Among area cities, Champaign had the lowest rate in March — 7.5 percent, down from 9 percent in February. Urbana's rate was 8.2 percent, down from 9.4 percent, and Danville's was 11.2 percent, down from 12.5 percent.
Of the state's 102 counties, Brown County in western Illinois had the lowest unemployment rate in March — 5 percent. The highest was 13 percent in Boone County in northern Illinois.