February was the 12th consecutive month that unemployment rates fell in every metro area in the state compared to a year ago, according to preliminary data released Tuesday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In the Metro East, the unemployment rate fell from 9.1 percent in February 2014 to 6.3 percent in February 2015, a 2.8 percent decrease.
Rates also fell in all 102 counties for the 11th consecutive month and the 12th time out of the past 14 months. Not seasonally adjusted data compares February 2015 to February 2014.
Illinois businesses added jobs in nine metros. Largest increases: Danville (+3.5 percent, +1,000), Champaign-Urbana (+2.3 percent, +2,400) and Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights Metro Division (+1.7 percent, +58,200). Decreases: Carbondale-Marion (-0.7 percent, -400), Bloomington (-0.5 percent, -500) and Peoria (-0.5 percent, -900). The industry sectors recording job growth in the majority of metros were Retail Trade (10 of 14), Government (9 of 14), Mining and Construction (8 of 14), Transportation, Warehousing and Public Utilities (8 of 14) and Education and Health Services (8 of 14).
“More Illinoisans are finding work as unemployment rates continue falling across the state. However, over-the-year, nearly 85 percent of the state’s job growth occurred in the northeastern part of the state. This regional job growth has masked losses in Peoria, Bloomington, Carbondale-Marion and the Quad Cities,” IDES Director Jeff Mays said. “Job growth needs to occur in all areas for a successful recovery.”
The not seasonally adjusted Illinois rate was 6.5 percent in February 2015 and stood at 12.2 percent at its peak in this economic cycle in January 2010. Nationally, the not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 5.8 percent in February 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 collecting unemployment insurance benefits.
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