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B-N job growth numbers solid in March

Unemployment Office

The Bloomington-Normal area labor market grew by 2,900 jobs from March of last year to the same month this year, while other central Illinois cities also saw big job gains over the 12-month period.

The Peoria labor market added 6,400 workers. Champaign-Urbana grew by more than 4,000 jobs. Springfield added 2,300 workers. All 14 major metro areas in the state had job growth in the last year.

“Over the last 24 consecutive months, job growth has remained consistent throughout industry sectors in metro areas across the state,” said Deputy Governor Andy Manar.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security reported data that shows the Bloomington-Normal labor force is now about 97,500 people.

In Bloomington-Normal, job declines were reported in Professional-Business Services (-300), Financial Activities (-200), Information (-100) and Construction (-100). Manufacturing (+1,900) and Leisure-Hospitality (+900) had the largest payroll gains over the year.

The metro areas that had the largest year-over-year percentage increases in total nonfarm jobs were Peoria at 3.9%, Champaign-Urbana at 3.4%, and Bloomington-Normal, 3.1%.

The March unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was 3.4%, down .4% from this time last year. Among larger cities, only Champaign-Urbana and the Illinois portion of the St. Louis Metro area come in with comparable jobless rates at 3.6%.

The unemployment rate decreased in 11 areas, increased in one area and was unchanged in two others for the year ending March 2

The metro areas with the largest unemployment rate decreases were Rockford, -1.1 to 6.7%, Carbondale-Marion, -0.6 to 4.0% and Springfield, -0.6 to 3.9%).

The non-metro Pontiac Livingston County labor market saw its seasonally adjusted unemployment rate drop to 4.2% from 4.7 percent in March 2022. Over the year, nonfarm payrolls increased by 375 jobs in the Livingston County area.

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