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Area continues to claw its way back from recession

Jobless rates drop in March

Unemployment rates continued to drop throughout the area in March, according to local numbers released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

Ogle was the only area county to still have double-digit unemployment. Although the rate declined 1.3 percentage points from the previous month, unemployment still was at 10.4 percent.

The jobless rate also dipped 1.3 percentage points in Lee County, moving from 10.1 percent to 8.8 percent in the past month.

Whiteside County’s numbers showed similar movement, showing a drop from 9.9 percent to 8.7 percent from February to March.

Carroll County shook double digits in March, seeing its jobless rate drop from 10.9 percent to 9.8 percent. The bad news, however, is that it was the only one in the five-county region that didn’t see a year-over-year decline. Carroll checked in at 9.8 percent last March.

Bureau County also dipped below 10 percent, moving from 10.9 percent to 9.5 percent in March.

Statewide, the unemployment rate hit a 5-year low in March. Illinois checked in at 8.4 percent, its lowest rate since January 2009.

That said, Illinois’ jobless rate still far exceeds the nation’s rate of 6.8 percent. The recession left a deeper mark on Illinois than most other states, IDES spokesman Greg Rivara said.

“The recession hit Illinois harder than in most other states,” Rivara said. “But Illinois has been adding jobs the past 3 years, and that often gets lost in larger issues about the state’s economy.”

Jobless rates

March 2014 Feb. 2014 March 2013

Whiteside County 8.7% 9.9% 9.4%

Lee County 8.8% 10.1% 9.5%

Ogle County 10.4% 11.7% 11.4%

Carroll County 9.8% 10.9% 9.8%

Bureau County 9.5% 10.9% 10.3%

Illinois 8.3% 9.4% 9.3%

U.S. 6.8% 7.0% 7.6%

Source: Illinois Department of Employment Security

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