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Local

Putnam County unemployment rises

Illinois figures continue to improve

As always, the monthly unemployment figures from the Illinois Department of Employment Security consist of good news and bad news. This time around, the news for Putnam County is worse than usual.

The state has as a whole fared much better with unemployment statewide at 6 percent for November 2014, down from October’s 6.6. But while most of the state continues to see unemployment shrink, Putnam County isn’t following the trend. Following last month’s figure of 6.6 percent, the local percentage has inched up to 7.1 percent. While lower than a year ago when local unemployment stood at 10.2 percent, the reversal is still not a good sign for the county.

Nationwide, the unemployment figure stands at 5.5 percent.

“Our local economies continue to grow at a steady, deliberate pace, just as they have throughout the year,” IDES Director Jay Rowell said. “Diverse economies such as Illinois’ move deliberately because we have exposure in multiple sectors. Worker training programs driven by the private sector will lead to a more nimble workforce in a better position to qualify for unfilled job opportunities.”

Locally, Bureau and LaSalle County saw their fortunes continue to rise. LaSalle County’s unemployment stayed steady at 7.9 percent, the same as October and down from November 2013’s 11.0 percent. Bureau County’s numbers shrank to 7.2 percent compared to October’s 7.6 and November 2013’s 9.3 percent.

“November data follow trends established earlier this year. More people describe themselves working than one year ago and the labor force remains stable. Help-wanted advertising continues to be steady,” Media Relations Director Greg Rivara said. “Declines in professional and business services are concentrated in temporary help and likely are seasonal. Declines in retail trade are curious and could reflect more online purchasing activity rather than at brick-and-mortar storefronts.”

The greatest job growth statewide was seen in the education and health services industry. The lowest unemployment figure in the state belongs to Henderson County where only 4.3 percent of the populace are unemployed.

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