The Rockford metropolitan area now leads the state in job growth according to the latest unemployment report issued by the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The same report shows that 8 of 15 regions across the state suffered job losses, a sign, as IDES Director Jeff Mays put it that “The state is still experiencing not nearly enough growth.”
But Rockford’s recovery has been strong and steady over the past 12-18 months, with the strongest job growth on a percentage basis of any region in the state. Here are the rankings for September, 2016 compared to September, 2015.
- Rockford (+1.7 percent, +2,600)
- Champaign-Urbana (+1.5 percent, +1,700)
- Elgin (+1.4 percent, +3,700)
- Lake-Kenosha (+1.4 percent, +5,800)
- Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights Metro (+1.1 percent or +40,300)
The not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the Rockford region decreased to 6.6 percent in September 2016 from 6.7 percent in September 2015. The last time the September rate was equal to or lower than the current rate was in 2007 when it was 5.7 percent.
Professional-Business Services (+1,800), Leisure-Hospitality (+400), and Retail Trade (+300) sectors led other local industries in payroll gains. The Construction (-200) industry recorded the largest employment decline compared to one year ago.