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B-N Unemployment Up, Jobs Down In March

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WGLT
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March data from the Illinois Department of Employment Security has begun to reflect the onset of the pandemic a year ago.

The Bloomington-Normal area labor market had 5% percent unemployment last month. The state Department of Employment Security reports the March figure is nearly two points higher than for the same month last year.

The year-over-year difference narrowed compared with February, which reflects the start of the pandemic in March of last year. Annual comparisons for the next several months will likely not be as starkly different.

About 86,400 people had jobs last month in the Twin City area. That's down about 5,500 positions from March 2020. The February drop in jobs was 6,300, suggesting the last half of March saw about 800 jobs disappear in Bloomington-Normal as the pandemic shut down society.

Again, numbers going forward should not reflect such a stark difference in the size of the labor market year over year.

The statewide March unemployment rate of 7.1% is a couple points higher than the Bloomington-Normal jobless rate.

All 14 major metro areas in Illinois recorded job losses and unemployment increases last month compared with the same month in 2020.

“As the state moves through pandemic recovery and the economy begins to heal itself, the major focus remains on assisting claimants and providing support to those still impacted,” said Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes. “IDES remains committed to administering benefits and providing job-matching services to individuals dislocated from their jobs as a result of the pandemic and eager to jump back into the workforce.”

The largest job declines for March in the Bloomington-Normal labor market were reported in Leisure-Hospitality (-1,700), Government (-1,500), and Financial Activities (-800). Wholesale Trade (+200) had payroll gains from March of last year.

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