Bloomington-Normal’s unemployment numbers among best in Illinois

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BLOOMINGTON-NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — The number of Americans on unemployment is at 269,000 according to the Department of Labor. It’s the lowest number since the beginning of the pandemic.

In the Twin Cities, the unemployment rate is at the top of the state’s metropolitan areas, currently at 4.0% according to the recent statistics released from the state last week.

Comparatively, the Peoria metro area’s unemployment rate is at 5.1% and Urbana-Champaign is at 4.1%.

CEO of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council, Patrick Hoban said the twin city’s numbers are the best in the state, but there’s more that could be improved upon.

“I think a lot of the entry-level positions when it comes to your fast-casuals, fast food restaurants definitely have openings, but I think for the higher-paying jobs they’re doing quite well right now,” Hoban said. “We knew whenever the better-paying jobs were going to come in, it was an opportunity to upskill and take some of the higher-paying jobs, now we just need to backfill from some of those more entry-level positions.”

Hoban described it as a scale, with higher-paying jobs increasing in Bloomington-Normal within the last year. He said Rivian and Ferrero are mainly to thank for that.

Hoban said he prefers to look at a statistic called the labor participation rate because unemployment is a ratio and doesn’t factor in everybody who is not in the labor force right now.

“It actually shows those looking for work, or are employed over 16 and above. Ours is about 62% participation rate which is about second in the state right now,” Hoban said.

Hoban said that number is promising because it’s higher than the U.S. average of 61%.

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