Illinois job growth mainly concentrated in northern region
Many central Illinois metro areas saw net job losses over the past year
By PETER HANCOCK
Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – Metropolitan areas in northern Illinois enjoyed most of the job growth that occurred in the state over the past year while a number of central-state communities saw net job losses.
That’s according to new figures released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
Those numbers showed the Chicago, Elgin and Lake County-Kenosha County metropolitan areas accounted for nearly all of the employment growth over the past 12 months, while the Springfield, Decatur, Champaign-Urbana, East St. Louis and Bloomington metropolitan areas all had net job losses.
Job gains were also reported in the Peoria Carbondale, Davenport (Iowa), Kankakee and Rockford metropolitan areas.
The Chicago area, which includes Naperville and Arlington Heights, saw its overall job count grow by 51,600, or about 1.4 percent. The biggest gains were in educational and health services; transportation, warehousing and utilities: and professional and business services.
Central Illinois, meanwhile, appeared to be feeling the effects of a tight labor market. The report noted that area employers advertised for 8,100 positions last month, and about three-quarters of those were for full-time jobs. That was based on data compiled by the Conference Board, a global, independent business membership and research association.
“Employers actually need more workers than the help wanted advertising indicates because some industries, such as construction, typically do not post advertised job openings,” the report stated about the central region.
The same trend was reported in southern Illinois, where employers advertised for 3,100 positions last month.
In the Carbondale-Marion area, the biggest contributors to job growth were government services and the private service-providing sector.
Meanwhile, Chicago and Danville were the only metropolitan areas that saw overall reductions in their unemployment rates over the year. Chicago’s rate fell six-tenths of a point, to 4.0 percent, the lowest of any metropolitan area, while Danville’s fell three-tenths of a point, to 6.3 percent, the third highest jobless rate among the 14 metropolitan areas.
Statewide, unemployment fell two-tenths of a point, to 4.7 percent.
Kankakee, at 6.7 percent, had the highest unemployment rate among the 14 metropolitan areas. That was up six-tenths of a percent from February 2018.
Rockford’s unemployment rate jumped seven-tenths of a point, to 6.4 percent, which was the largest over-the-year increase in joblessness.
The Illinois portion of the St. Louis metropolitan area, often referred to as the “Metro East” area, saw its unemployment rate rise three-tenths of a point, to 5.1 percent.