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Local

Unemployment continues downward trend in Putnam County

It’s still good news/bad news for Putnam County in the unemployment picture.

While unemployment has dropped from 9.7 percent to 7.8 percent since August 2013, the county is still more than a full percentage point behind the average in the state. Putnam County’s rate is also at a much slower rate than the state average.

Statewide, unemployment rates in August fell in every metro for the fifth consecutive month and are at six- and seven-year lows, according to preliminary data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). Rates also fell in all 102 counties for the third consecutive month. The data, which is not seasonally adjusted, compares August 2014 with August 2013 and does not remove the effects of regular or seasonal patterns.

“This is encouraging news — more people working than one year ago and fewer people describing themselves as unemployed,” IDES Director Jay Rowell said. “We now will look to see how the falling unemployment rate trend unfolds as employers continue to add permanent jobs and we begin to experience seasonal hiring.”

“Also, area employers advertised for 5,100 positions in August, and approximately 85 percent sought full-time employment, according to Help Wanted OnLine data compiled by the Conference Board. It is a global, independent business membership and research association,” Greg Rivara, director of Information Strategies for IDES said. “Employers actually need more workers than the help wanted advertising indicates because some industries, such as construction, typically don’t advertise job openings.”

The leisure and hospitality industry recorded job growth in most metropolitan areas with 10 out of 12 areas reporting new jobs.

The August 2014 not seasonally adjusted statewide rate was 6.7 percent compared to 9.1 percent one year ago. Nationally, the rate was 6.3 percent in August and 7.3 percent one year ago. The rate identifies those who are out of work and looking for work and is not tied to collecting unemployment insurance benefits. Historically, the state unemployment rate is higher than the national rate.

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