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Jobless rates down in region

STERLING – Jobless rates were down in the Sauk Valley area in April, according to data released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security. 

In Whiteside, Lee, Ogle, Carroll and Bureau counties, the unemployment rates were all lower in April than in March, and lower than in April 2012.

Lee County’s jobless rate sank to 8.0 percent, down from 9.6 percent in March and down from 9.0 percent last year. The county had 1,367 unemployed in April, down from 1,649 in March. The county’s labor force – people working or looking for work – shrank by 82.

Whiteside County’s unemployment rate went down to 8 percent, down from 9.7 percent in March and down from 8.7 percent in April 2012. The number of unemployed in the county decreased over the month from 2,782 to 2,256. The county’s labor force shrank by 277.

Theresa Wittenauer, economic development director for Blackhawk Hills Regional Council, said her office has noticed the improvement.

“We are seeing better numbers,” Wittenauer said. “Last year, when Stanley [National Hardware] closed, we had a larger number of people looking for jobs. It looks like most of them have found jobs.”

The manufacturing jobs created in Rochelle by companies such as Nippon Sharyo, which makes rail cars, and Coated Sand Solutions, which produces resin-coated sand used in the fracking industry, have helped the area, she said.

The state’s unemployment rate was 8.7 percent in April, down from 9.4 percent in March, but up from last year’s rate of 8.5 percent.

By the numbers

Here are unemployment numbers for Sauk Valley counties in April, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The data are not seasonally adjusted.

Bureau County 

April 2013

8.4 percent

March 2013

10.3 percent

April 2012

8.7 percent

Carroll County

April 2013

7.8 percent

March 2013

9.8 percent

April 2012

8.3 percent

Lee County

April 2013

8.0 percent

March 2013

9.6 percent

April 2012

9.0 percent

Ogle County

April 2013

9.4 percent

March 2013

11.6 percent

April 2012

10.2 percent

Whiteside County

April 2013

8.0 percent

March 2013

9.7 percent

April 2012

8.7 percent

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