EFFINGHAM — January's bad weather was reflected in unemployment figures released this week by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
While every county in the Effingham Daily News circulation area had higher unemployment in January than the previous month, all seven counties recorded January 2014 jobless rates lower than the previous January.
Labor market economist Dennis Hoffman said a bitterly cold and snowy January caused dramatic decreases in construction, retail trade and leisure-hospitality. But Hoffman said there were still more employment opportunities early this year compared to the same time the previous year.
"Employment opportunities were available at the beginning of 2014 in sales, transportation and food services," Hoffman said. "Health care and medical support occupations continued to have job openings, while demand continued for workers in management, computer operations, engineering, production occupations, office support staff, social services, and installation, maintenance and repair occupations."
Effingham County again posted the area's lowest unemployment rates, even though the county's January rate of 8.2 percent was well above the December 2013 rate of 7.4 percent. The county's jobless rate was, however, down from last January's 9.1 percent.
The story was much the same in other area counties, including:
• Cumberland, 10.6 in January, up from 9.8 percent in December, but down from 12.4 percent in January 2013; Shelby, 10.2 percent, up from 9.7 percent in December, but down from 11.3 percent in January 2013; Clay, 11.8 percent, up from 11.2 percent in December, but down from 12.8 percent in January 2013; Fayette, 12.1 percent, up from 11 percent in December, but down from 12.8 percent last January; Jasper, 9.6 percent, up from 8.5 percent in December, but down from 10.6 percent in January 2013, and Marion, 11.3 percent, up from 11.2 percent in December, but up from 13.3 percent the previous January.
Hoffman said the Illinois unemployment rate was 9.1 percent in January, while the national rate was 7 percent.
Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter @EDNBGrimes