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Bloomington-Normal workforce returns to pre-pandemic levels

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Frederic J. Brown
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AFP/Getty Images
The January 2022 unemployment rate in Bloomington-Normal was 4.1%. That's significantly better than for the same month during the middle of the pandemic.

It looks like Bloomington-Normal economic development officials might have been right in saying Rivian hiring hadn't been fully reflected in state jobs data over the last several months. There's not much else that can explain a 4,200-job increase in the Twin City area workforce from December to January.

The Department of Employment Security said Thursday that January non-farm employment in the Bloomington-Normal metro area was 91,500. That's about 1,300 more jobs than in January 2020 before the pandemic. It is still less than the 92,800 positions recorded in September 2019.

The size of the January 2022 workforce is a whopping 6,700 job increase from January of 2021. That's a 7.9% growth and leads the state.

The January unemployment rate in Bloomington-Normal was 4.1%. That's significantly better than for the same month during the middle of the pandemic. The January jobless rate also is the lowest of any large city in the state.

The unemployment rate decreased over-the-year in all 14 Illinois metropolitan areas in January for the 10th consecutive month, according to preliminary data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Jobs were up in 12 metro areas, unchanged in one, and down in another.

“Today’s data reflects Illinois’ increasingly strong economy,” said Deputy Governor Andy Manar. “Continued job growth across multiple regions and industries is a sign of more progress. We look forward to sustaining this work in the months ahead, by connecting employers and job seekers with more resources and opportunities.”

The Elgin MSA grew by 6.0% with 14,000 additional jobs. The Chicago Metro Division labor force was up 5.6%, an addition of 193,800 positions.

The Springfield MSA workforce grew by 5.6%, or 5,600 jobs. Total non-farm jobs were down slightly in the Champaign-Urbana MSA ( minus 0.2%, or 200), and unchanged in the Kankakee MSA.

The industries that saw job growth in a majority of metro areas included: Leisure & Hospitality (14 areas); Wholesale Trade and Other Services (12 areas each); Government (11 areas); Professional & Business Services (10 areas); and Manufacturing and Education & Health Services (nine areas each).

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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