---- — Unemployment rates throughout the area remained steady during May, according to statistics released this week by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
Jobless rates in all seven area counties remained about the same in May as in April. Moreover, each county's May unemployment rate showed little change from that of the previous May.
Labor market economist Dennis Hoffman said the most job opportunities continued to be in the health care and medical support sectors, though he noted jobs were also available in food service, sales, management, transportation, computer operations, engineering, production occupations, and buildings and grounds maintenance.
Hoffman added that the presence of road and commercial construction projects steadied employment in that sector. He also noted that the warmer weather had allowed companies to increase payrolls in the leisure-hospitality, wholesale trade and retail trade sectors.
Effingham County continued to post the lowest unemployment rates, with its 6.3 percent May unemployment rate slightly up from a rate of 6.2 percent in both April 2013, and May 2012.
Unemployment rates in other counties included Cumberland, 8 percent, up from 7.8 percent in both April 2013, and May 2012; Shelby, 7.8 percent, up from 7.6 percent in April, but down from 7.9 percent in May 2012; Clay, 9 percent, down from 9.3 percent in both April 2012, and May 2013; Fayette, 8.7 percent down from 8.8 percent in April and 9.3 percent last May; Jasper, 7.3 percent, up from 6.9 percent in April and 7 percent in May 2012; and Marion, 9.9 percent, up from 9.6 percent in April and 9.8 percent last May.