Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

March 28, 2014

Area unemployment rates improve from one year ago.

Bill Grimes
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — While February unemployment rates in area counties were higher than the previous month, all seven area counties posted lower rates this February than one year earlier.

Area unemployment rates for February ranged from 8.9 percent in Effingham County to 12.3 percent in Fayette County. Labor market economist Dennis Hoffman said the slight decrease in unemployment rates over the past year is primarily due to movement in the wholesale trade, health care services and professional-business services sectors.

Hoffman added that employment opportunities continued to be available in sales, transportation and food services, while health care and medical support occupations continued to have job openings. He added that demand continued for workers in the management, computer operations, engineering, production occupations, office support staff, and installation, maintenance and repair occupations.

Effingham County continued to post the area's lowest unemployment rates, with the February rate of 8.9 percent above the January rate of 8.2 percent, but below the February 2013 rate of 9 percent even.

While the other six area counties all posted lower unemployment rates this February than last, the comparative rates differed wildly. For example, Cumberland County's February 2014 rate of 10.9 percent was far below the 12.6 percent posted the previous February, though up from the 10.6 percent posted this past January.

Comparative unemployment rates in other area counties included:

• Shelby, 10.5 percent in February, up from 10.2 percent in January, but down from 10.7 percent last February; Clay, 12.1 percent in February, up from 11.8 percent in January, but down from 12.8 percent last February; Fayette, 12.3 percent in February, up from 12.1 percent in January, but down from 12.6 percent last February; Jasper, 9.8 percent in February, up from 9.6 percent in January, but down from 10.9 percent last February; and Marion, 11.8 percent in February, up from 11.3 percent in January, but down from 13 percent last February.

The Illinois unemployment rate climbed 0.3 percent to 9.4 percent in February, while the national rate remained the same at 7 percent.

Bill Grimes may be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com, or via Twitter @EDNBGrimes.