The report on Illinois cities and metro areas, published by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), covers September 2019 job trends in local regions throughout the state. During this 30-day period, unemployment dropped throughout Illinois to 3.9%, signaling so-called “full employment.” The IDES survey, which uses data sent to it by employers throughout Illinois, found full-employment below-4.0% jobless levels in many widely scattered regions of the Prairie State. Metro areas with low unemployment included Chicago (3.2%), Champaign-Urbana (3.5%, Springfield (3.5%), Bloomington (3.6%), Carbondale (3.7%), and the Metro-East area east of St. Louis (3.8%). These are all areas with either large-city settings or major State universities, or both.
Several metro areas in Downstate Illinois continued to have unemployment numbers that are significantly higher than the State average. These metro areas included Kankakee (4.2%), Peoria (4.3%), Decatur (4.9%), Danville (5.0%), and Rockford (5.3%). These are metropolitan areas with workforces traditionally oriented towards manufacturing and industry. With a rate rising from 4.9% in September 2018 to 5.3% in September 2019, Rockford was the one major metro area of Illinois that has seen rising joblessness over the past 12 months.