Unemployment rate in Mercer County ranks as highest in area

Staff reports

 Over-the-year unemployment rates for December increased in all 12 Illinois metropolitan areas for the 20th consecutive month, according to data released Jan. 29 by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).  

The unemployment rate in Mercer County is at 8.9 percent, the highest amongst its immediate neighbors.

Unemployment rates in the surrounding counties are: Warren, 6.2 percent; Rock Island, 6.7 percent; Knox, 7.1 percent; Henry, 7.6 percent and Henderson, 8.1 percent.

In 2007 the unemployment rates in Mercer and area counties was: Mercer, 5.6 percent; Warren, 4.7 percent; Rock Island, 4.7 percent; Henry, 5.0 percent; Knox, 5.2 percent and Henderson, 5.6 percent.

Seven metro areas posted their highest unemployment rate for the month of December on record (back to 1990). Metro areas that reported the largest unemployment rate increases were Rockford (+5.4 points to 12.5 percent), Kankakee-Bradley (+2.9 points to 10.5 percent), Danville (+2.3 points to 9.4 percent), Lake-Kenosha (+2.3 points to 8.0 percent), and the Illinois section of St. Louis (+2.3 points to 8.3 percent).

From December 2007 to December 2008, total payroll jobs decreased in eight metropolitan areas, remained stable in three, and increased in one (Peoria, +1,500). Job totals were down  -57,500 in the Chicago-Naperville-Joliet metro area.

We continue to evaluate how best to help people in these difficult times and have added staff, expanded TeleServe hours for claim certification and encourage people to use the website to file for unemployment insurance,” IDES Director Maureen O’Donnell said. “This national economic downturn has created challenges across Illinois. In an effort to provide benefits and information as quickly as possible, we encourage the growing number of job seekers to visit the department’s website at www.ides.state.il.us.”