Unemployment Rate Down in February for All Fourteen Metros Amidst Ongoing Surge of Unemployment Claims as a Result of COVID-19

While the unemployment rate decreased over-the-year in February in all fourteen Illinois metropolitan areas and all 102 counties, according to preliminary data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), the department continues to receive an unprecedented number of unemployment claims as a result of COVID-19. Data also shows the number of nonfarm jobs decreased in nine Illinois metropolitan areas and increased in five. Illinois businesses added jobs in five metro areas, with the largest percentage increases in Kankakee (+2.2%, +1,000), Champaign-Urbana (+1.8%, +2,100) and Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights (+1.0%, +37,500). Total nonfarm jobs were down in Rockford (-3.5%, -5,200), Peoria (-1.8%, -3,000) and Lake-Kenosha (-1.2%, -5,100). The industry sectors recording job growth in the majority of metro areas included Education and Health Services (11 of 14).Not seasonally adjusted data compares February 2020 with February 2019. The not seasonally adjusted Illinois rate was 3.5 percent in February 2020 and stood at 12.2 percent at its peak in this economic cycle in January 2010. Nationally, the not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in February 2020 and 10.6 percent in January 2010, at its peak. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and seeking employment.

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