The Rockford region’s unemployment rate fell to 5.1% in December despite adding no jobs over the past year according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, numbers which could be somewhat misleading because of temporary layoffs while the Belvidere Assembly Plant was being retooled last year.
Remarkably, IDES reports that the unemployment rate dropped in every county in Illinois in December, another sign of a robust economy which is adding jobs. In addition, “Eleven metro areas saw their lowest December unemployment rates since 2006,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays in a news release.
Rockford’s unemployment rate fell from 6.5% in December, 2016 to 5.1% one year later. However, the December, 2016 rate was boosted by the layoffs of Fiat Chrysler employees in Belvidere while their plant was being retooled to assembly the new Jeep Cherokee.
IDES numbers also show a consistent pattern of fewer workers in the Rockford metropolitan area, an indication of people leaving the workforce or moving away. Illinois was the only state to show a loss of population in the past year according to the U.S. Census.