Seasonal construction layoffs drove up unemployment rates throughout the area in December, according to statistics from the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
Area counties saw unemployment rates rise between November and December -- though jobless rates in five of the seven counties were still lower than the previous December, the IDES reported.
Labor market economist Dennis Hoffman said seasonal construction layoffs began in November and continued through last month as a result of winter weather. But Hoffman said the labor market still showed some bright spots.
"Retailers and restaurants hired temporary and part-time help for the holiday season," he said. "Over the year, employment gains were reported in transportation, wholesale trade and professional business services."
Hoffman noted health care and sales continued to post the largest number of job openings in the area. Employment opportunities, he said, were also available in transportation, food service, computer-related services, office and administrative support, and installation, maintenance and repair.
For labor statistics on Effingham and other area counties, see Monday's print edition.