Bloomington-Normal's unemployment rate fell in September for the fifth straight month, although thousands of jobs still haven't returned since the pandemic hit.
The Bloomington-Normal area's jobless rate was 6.3% in September, down from a peak of 12.8% in April but still well above the rate in September 2019 (3.5%).
The state's jobless rate in September was 9.8%, and 7.7% nationally. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and seeking employment.
There were 5,100 fewer jobs in the Bloomington-Normal area economy in September versus this time a year ago, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). The largest declines were reported in Leisure-Hospitality (-2,300 jobs), Professional-Business Services (-1,300), Government (-600), Educational-Health Services (-400), and Manufacturing (-200).
Thousands of people lost their jobs (or at least hours) in Bloomington-Normal when the pandemic hit. More than 10,000 people sought jobless benefits for the first time in March and April alone, according to data from IDES. Those shattered previous monthly records.
The number of people seeking jobless benefits then slowed each month from May through August, but it ticked up again in September, when 1,112 people filed for unemployment, IDES reported.
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