From the middle of March through the middle of April, there was a slow-down of the labor market's recovery across the country, but especially here in Illinois--and Rockford in particular.

According to Bryce Hill, Senior Research Analyst with Illinois Policy Institute, Illinois only added around 300 jobs during that time period. That's bad enough until you consider that Illinois lost about 4000 jobs in the private sector during that month-long span.

Here's the worst part, says Illinois Policy:

The majority of Illinois-based metropolitan areas – 8 out of 13 – shed jobs during the month. Rockford lost 3.2% of its payroll positions, the worst in the nation and a total of 4,500 jobs.

Obviously, with those numbers statewide, Rockford isn't the only city in Illinois having jobs difficulties. Looking through the numbers at the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) website, I found that during that time period the Peoria area dropped 1,100 jobs, the Lake County/Kenosha County area lost 1,200, Champaign dropped 700, Davenport-Moline-Rock Island lost 800 jobs, and Carbondale had 800 people out of a job.

Illinois is still sitting with a higher-than-the-rest-of-the-nation unemployment rate of 7.1 percent, according to numbers provided from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As a sad matter of fact, we lead the Midwest in unemployment numbers:

  • Wisconsin (3.9)
  • Indiana (4.0)
  • Iowa (3.9)
  • Missouri (4.2)
  • Michigan (5.0)
  • Minnesota (4.0)

Illinois lead the Midwest in unemployment, and Rockford leads Illinois, according to the BLS:

  • Rockford (9.7%)
  • Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights (7.9%)
  • Decatur (7.9%)
  • Kankakee (6.9%)
  • Danville (6.5%)
  • Peoria (6.4%)

I wish I were describing a much rosier picture here, but the numbers are what the numbers are. As Illinois Policy points out, Illinois' job losses "peaked in April 2020 amid COVID-19 and state-mandated shutdowns. In the year since, Illinois has added among the fewest jobs in the nation. Illinois ranks 44th in the nation in jobs growth since the recovery began at the end of April 2020."

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