Most Metro Unemployment Down, Danville and Decatur Up
By The Associated Press, with addtional reporting from Illinois Public Radio
Unemployment fell in seven of Illinois' 12 metro areas in July. But some of the increases were sharp and driven by manufacturing declines, including those Danville and Decatur.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday that unemployment dropped in areas that included Champaign-Urbana, Springfield and the Metro East near St. Louis.
The last of those three saw a steep drop, from 9.6 percent in July 2012 to 8.6 percent.
Champaign-Urbana's went from 9.1 percent a year ago, to 8.9 percent last month.
But some areas dependent on manufacturing experienced large increases. Unemployment jumped from 8 percent to 9.4 percent in Peoria, where Caterpillar Inc. has its headquarters.
The company has cut employees as demand drops.
Some of those layoffs have been in Decatur, where unemployment rose to 13.2 percent from 11.3 in 2012 - the community with the worst unemployment in the state. Danville's rate went from 10.6 to 11.8 percent over a year, as the city lost roughly 400 jobs.
Illinois had the second-highest July unemployment rate in the country at 9.2 percent.
The latest numbers came out the same day Gov. Pat Quinn held an event in Schaumburg Thursday, just outside of Chicago, to announce that a German manufacturer was moving its U.S. headquarters there from Ohio.
Quinn said he recruited the Rittal company on his December trip to Germany - and as a result he's expecting 40 new jobs.
The Democratic Governor defended his record of job creation.
"Our state has created a lot of jobs, but there are folks who were discouraged, who weren’t in the employment market, they’re now coming back, our housing market is recovering," he said. "We’ve got to keep this momentum going."
Even the metropolitan area in the state with the lowest unemployment, Bloomington-Normal, has an unemployment rate of 7.8 percent - nearly half a percentage point higher than the national average.