Crawford County's unemployment picture continued to brighten in November.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security reported 4.9 percent of the county's work force was unemployed and actively seeking new jobs during the month.
This was unchanged from the rate posted in October, but down from 6 percent in November 2016.
Neighboring counties on both sides on the Wabash River reported similar statistics.
Clark County, for example, reported a jobless rate of 4.8 percent during the month. This was up slightly from the October rate of 4.3 percent, but down from 5.2 percent in 2016.
Jasper County's rate was 4.4 percent, up from 4.2 percent the previous month, but down from 5.9 percent a year earlier.
Lawrence County, at 5.6 percent, was up from 5.2 percent in October, but down from 7 percent the previous year.
In Indiana, Vigo County was unchanged from October at 4.1 percent. It was down slightly from the 2016 rate of 4.5 percent.
Sullivan County also reported a November jobless rate of 4.1 percent. It was down from 4.2 percent a month earlier and 4.9 percent a year earlier.
Knox County was at 3.4 percent. This was unchanged from October, but down from 3.8 percent in November 2016.
Overall, Indiana posted a 3.4-percent jobless rate. This was the same as in October, but down from 3.9 in 2016.
The IDES said the unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in November. This was unchanged from October but down from 5.2 percent last year.
November's monthly payroll drop kept over-the-year job growth well below the national average.
While Illinois job growth has had its ups and downs since the beginning of the year, the three-month trend shows average gains of 100 jobs per month from September to November, while the six-month trend shows an increase of 800 average monthly job gains from June to November.
The three-month was better than reported last month, though the six-month change showed less strength.
"Illinois employment growth saw a lot of over-the-month ups and downs this past year." said IDES Director Jeff Mays.
"But payrolls overall have increased by about a half-percent over the year to date, which is an additional 23,900 jobs," he added.
"Our focus remains on creating a business-friendly environment that is conducive to opportunity," said Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Sean McCarthy.
"While we are still growing slower than the nation, Illinois is seeing the benefits of a pro-business administration that is committed to fostering innovation, attracting investment and creating jobs," McCarthy explained.
In November, the three industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were Professional and Business Services. Manufacturing and Construction. The three industry sectors with the largest payroll declines were Government, Financial Activities and Other Services.
Over-the-year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 25,900 jobs with the largest gains in Financial Activities, Professional and Business Services and Education and Health Services.
The industry sectors with the largest over-the-year declines include Government, Leisure and Hospitality and Trade, Transportation and Utilities. Illinois nonfarm payrolls were up .4 percent over-the-year in sharp contrast to the nation's 1.4 percent over-the-year gain in November.
The state's unemployment rate is .8 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for November, which held at 4.1 percent from October. The national rate was down from 4.7 percent last November, however.
The Illinois unemployment rate is down .9 percentage points from a year ago when it was 5.8 percent. At 4.9 percent, the Illinois jobless rate is .8 percentage points lower than January 2017.
The number of unemployed workers dipped 1 percent from the prior month to 313,800, down 16.2 percent over the same month for the prior year.
The labor force increased.3 percent over-the-month and declined by .9 percent in November over the prior year.
Unemployment rates decreased over-the-year in November in all of Illinois's metropolitan areas, according to the IDES and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Data also show nonfarm jobs increased in ten of the metropolitan areas and decreased in four.
"It is encouraging that job growth was reported in ten of the 14 metro areas," Mays said. "More than 30,000 of those jobs were created in the Chicago Metro area, so we need continued stronger growth statewide."
Illinois businesses added jobs in 10 metro areas, with the largest increases in Kankakee, Lake/Kenosha and the Quad Cities. Total nonfarm jobs in the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights Metro Division increased.
Illinois businesses lost jobs in four metro areas, with the largest losses in Danville, Champaign and Decatur.
The industry sectors recording job growth in the majority of metro areas included Professional and Business Services, Mining and Construction, Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities, Manufacturing, Education and Health Services and Leisure and Hospitality.
Nationally, last week the number of unemployed workers filing for jobless benefits remained the same from the previous week at 245,000, a low level signaling a healthy job market.
The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure, climbed 1,750 to 237,750, the Labor Department said.
Applications are essentially a proxy for layoffs, and any reading below 300,000 is considered low in a historical context. Many employers are finding it difficult to fill their open jobs, so they are motivated to retain their existing work force.
Overall, about 1.94 million people are receiving jobless benefits, an increase of 7,000 from the previous week. Last year at this time, about 2.1 million Americans were receiving jobless benefits.
Steady economic growth is encouraging more hiring. The unemployment rate is at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent.
Claims continue to be disrupted in the Virgin Islands and data gathering in Puerto Rico still has not returned to normal, the government said.
The Federal Reserve and many economists believe the unemployment rate could soon fall below 4 percent for the first time since 2000.
Looking back at how the job market fared throughout 2017, unemployment rates dropped to record lows in Alabama, California, Hawaii, Mississippi and Texas in November.
The Labor Department's report on state unemployment released last week showed rates fell in 19 other states, a positive sign for U.S. economic growth. Over the past 12 months, 27 states have added payroll jobs. Job totals have essentially been unchanged in 23 other states.
During the past year, the largest absolute gains were in Texas, where the number of jobs climbed 330,600. California was second in job additions with 288,300. These states also led in month job gains. Alaska and North Dakota shed jobs between October and November.
Hawaii reported the lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 2 percent. The unemployment rate was below 2.7 percent in Nebraska, New Hampshire and North Dakota. In total, 17 states have unemployment rates below this national average of 4.1 percent.