April unemployment rates in Champaign and Vermilion counties were the lowest they've been in at least three years, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
Champaign County's unemployment rate dipped to 7 percent in April, down from 7.5 percent in March. The last time the April rate was that low was 2009, when it was 6.7 percent.
In Vermilion County, the unemployment rate dropped to 9.3 percent, down from 9.7 percent in March. The last time the April rate was that low was 2008, when it was 6.4 percent.
April rates in East Central Illinois, for the most part, were lower than March rates and April 2011 rates.
The only exceptions were in Danville and Piatt County:
— In Danville, the April rate of 10 percent was higher than the March rate of 9.8 percent and the April 2011 rate of 9.9 percent.
— In Piatt County, the April rate of 7.3 percent was down from 8.1 percent in March, but still higher than the 6.9 percent rate of April 2011.
In Champaign County, 6,928 people were out of work and looking for a job in April, while 92,482 were employed, according to the department.
Compared with a year earlier, there were 1,100 fewer Champaign County residents employed in government, 400 fewer employed in hospitality jobs and 300 fewer employed in retail trade — but there were gains of 200 jobs in manufacturing and 100 jobs in professional-business services.
In Vermilion County, 3,295 people were unemployed and seeking work in April, while 32,260 were employed. Over the past year, the number of government jobs in Vermilion County shrank by 200, while the number of manufacturing jobs was up by 100.
Here are the April unemployment rates for other area counties and their change from March:
— Coles, 7.8, down from 8.4.
— DeWitt, 7.4, down from 8.1.
— Douglas, 7.2, down from 8.1.
— Edgar, 8.4, down from 9.4.
— Ford, 7.8, down from 8.7.
— Iroquois, 7.5, down from 9.2.
— McLean, 6.2, down from 6.7.
— Moultrie, 6.5, down from 6.9.
Among area cities, Champaign had the lowest rate — 6.8 percent, down from 7.1 percent in March. Meanwhile, Urbana's rate dropped from 7.8 percent to 7.3 percent.
Statewide, the counties with the lowest unemployment rates were in the west central Illinois counties of Brown (4.1 percent) and Adams (5.6 percent).
The highest county rates were in the northern Illinois counties of Boone (10.8 percent) and Winnebago (10.7 percent). Eight other counties also had rates of 10 percent or more.
The Champaign-Urbana metro area had an April unemployment rate of 7 percent — fourth-lowest among Illinois metro areas, behind Bloomington-Normal, Springfield and Davenport-Rock Island-Moline.
The Danville metro area's April rate of 9.3 percent was the fourth-highest among Illinois metro areas, behind Rockford, Kankakee-Bradley and Decatur.