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Unemployment Drops Across South Central Illinois

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

Unemployment was down significantly across South Central Illinois in April.  

Figures released by the State Department of Employment Security place the unemployment rate for Marion County at 9.6%, down from 11.7% in March and one-tenth of a percent lower than in April last year.  

Labor Market Economist Dennis Hoffman says employment was up in several areas.  "Springtime employment growth in a lot of the seasonal employment areas, such as construction, retail trade and leisure hospitality are the three main industry groups where springtime seasonal employment begins to take off," explained Hoffman.

But Hoffman says there are still several areas of concern as well.  "There are scattered industries throughout the area that are doing well, but there are others that have struggled and continue to struggle.  Manufacturing is one area that is still at a lower level.  Government payrolls have been on a steady decline.  Local governments and schools are doing some layoffs and cutbacks, so I think those are two areas that have not turned around," said Hoffman.  

Hoffman says the Marion County unemployment numbers translates into 1,650 on the unemployment roles, down 350 from March.  The number of jobs in Marion County grew to 15,460, an increase of 200.  

All other area counties also showed large decreases.  Washington County has the lowest rate in the region, falling from 7% in March to 5.7% in April.  Clinton County's unemployment dropped from 8.3% to 6.4%.  Jefferson County's rate dropped from 8.6% to 7.2%.  Unemployment in Fayette County is now at 8.8% down from 10.9% in March.  Clay County's unemployment rate fell from 11.5% to 9.3%.   

The statewide unemployment rate for April is 8.7%.   

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