Bloomington-Normal's high unemployment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continued to ease in July, as the jobless rate fell and fewer people sought jobless benefits for the first time.
The Twin City area's jobless rate was 8% in July. That's up from 4.1% in July 2019, but well below the 12.8% peak in April at the height of the pandemic. The 8% jobless rate also is the lowest for any metro area in Illinois, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).
There were 6,600 fewer jobs in the Bloomington-Normal in July versus a year ago, IDES reported. The largest declines were in Leisure-Hospitality (-2,600 jobs), Professional-Business Services (-1,400), Government (-900), and Educational-Health Services (-600). Financial Activities (+200), which includes insurance jobs, saw payroll gains.
The statewide jobless rate for July was 11.3%. It was 10.5% nationally.
The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and seeking employment.
Meanwhile for the first time, the number of people seeking jobless benefits from the state continued to slow in July, according to IDES data.
About 1,318 people in the Bloomington-Normal area filed for first-time jobless benefits in July, the second-straight monthly decrease. That's down from a peak of 5,253 first-time filers in April.
Still, the data suggest that more than 16,000 people in the Bloomington-Normal area lost a job at some point during the pandemic.
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