Unemployment dropped in Crawford County in December.
According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, 4.4 percent of the county's work force was unemployed and actively seeking new jobs during the month. This was down from 6.2 percent in December 2018, but it was up from 3.5 percent in November.
Neighboring counties posted similar statistics. Clark County, for example, reported a December jobless rate of 4.5 percent. This was down from 5.8 percent a year earlier but up from 3.7 percent the previous month.
In Lawrence County, the jobless rate was 5.4 percent in December, down from 6.9 percent in 2018 but up from 4.5 percent in November.
The Jasper County rate was 3.8 percent. This was down from 5.2 percent in December 2018 but up slightly from 3.1 percent in November.
Across the Wabash in Indiana, Vigo County's November jobless rate was 3.9 percent. This was down from 4.6 percent in December 2018 and 4 percent in November.
Sullivan County, at 4.2 percent, was down from 4.5 percent a year earlier but up from 3.7 percent the previous month.
Knox County's rate of 2.8 percent was down from 3.3 percent in 2018 and 3 percent in November.
The IDES announced that the unemployment rate fell .1 percentage point to 3.5 percent, a new historical low. This was down from 4.4 percent a year earlier and 3.8 percent in November.
Meanwhile, nonfarm payrolls added 8,000 jobs in December, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The November monthly change in payrolls was revised from the preliminary report from 17,200 to 13,400 jobs.
The state's unemployment rate is .1 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for December 2019, which was 3.4 percent. This was down from 3.7 percent the previous December and 3.6 percent in November.
Illinois payroll employment has shown variability since the beginning of the year, as have national payrolls.
Average payroll employment in Illinois during the October to December three-month period, which provides a more stable measure of payroll employment change, was up 900 jobs, compared to the September to November three-month period.
The largest average gains were found in educational and health services, leisure and hospitality and government.
"Over the past year, Gov. [J.B.] Pritzker has worked hard to improve Illinois' economy and create the conditions for good jobs around the state that will build long-term economic success," said Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes.
"From the bipartisan balanced budget and historic Rebuild Illinois infrastructure plan to lifting up workers and families by raising the minimum wage, this administration is creating an economy that works for everyone," Hynes added.
"Gov. Pritzker has implemented a number of policies and strategies that continue to address the needs of the diverse Illinois workforce," said Erin Guthrie, acting director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
"The Five-Year Economic and Rebuild Illinois Plans, coupled with the minimum wage increase, are steps that will help create a symbiotic environment in which businesses and workers can thrive," she said.
Compared to a year ago, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 45,000 jobs with the largest gains in educational and health services, leisure and hospitality and government.
The industry sectors with the largest over-the-year declines were trade, transportation and utilities, manufacturing and construction.
Illinois nonfarm payrolls were up .7 percent over-the-year as compared to the nation's 1.4 percent over-the-year gain in December.
The number of unemployed workers decreased from the prior month, 2.4 percent to 240,100, a new record low, and was down 13.2 percent over the same month for the prior year.
The labor force was down .3 percent over-the-month but up .1 percent over-the-year.
The unemployment rate decreased over-the-year in December in all 14 Illinois metropolitan areas. Data also shows the number of nonfarm jobs increased in ten Illinois metropolitan areas, decreased in three and was unchanged in one.
"Under Gov. Pritzker's leadership, we now have the lowest unemployment rate in state history with the most jobs on record," Hynes said.
"The governor is committed to building on this progress by attracting new businesses to Illinois, putting people to work on our infrastructure and creating opportunities for communities that have been left behind for too long," he added.
Illinois businesses added jobs in 10 metro areas, with the largest percentage increases in Champaign, Carbondale and Decatur. Total nonfarm jobs were down in Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, Peoria and Rockford.
The industry sectors recording job growth in the majority of metro areas included education and health services, government and transportation, warehousing and utilities.