CHICAGO -- The most recent unemployment numbers (non-seasonly adjusted) show a troubling trend for the Rockford metropolitan area. According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, the Rockford area lost more jobs in January, extending a trend which dates back to the middle of 2012.
The latest date shows that the Rockford Metropolitan Area had 145,500 people employed in January. That's down from 146,700 in December and 147,400 in November. As a result, the City of Rockford has an unemployment rate of 14.2% Belvidere's is 17.1%. The metropolitan area as a whole has an unemployment rate of 13.0%,
Part of the loss of jobs could be based on seasonal factors. "Increases in the unemployment rate and newly created jobs are expected each January. The new year encourages employers to hire and workers to re-energize their work search," IDES Director Jay Rowell said in a news release. The IDES points out that the Rockford metropolitan area does have a slightly lower unemployment rate than it did one year ago. But that single sign of improvement could be misleading
A snapshot of the past six months reveals that the Rockford area has lost 3200 jobs over that period.
- Jan, 2013: 145,500 jobs
- November, 2012: 147,400 jobs
- Sept., 2012: 147,600 jobs
- July, 2012: 148,700 jobs
Rockford did see job growth near the end of 2011 and beginning of 2012, so what's reversing that trend now even as the U.S. unemployment rate creeps downward? Rowell notes, "We now need to better understand how the federal budget reductions through sequestration will pressure the economy, especially consumer confidence and hiring efforts."
But that belies a bigger problem. The U.S. employment picture is at least moving in the right direction, while the Rockford metropolitan area's employment picture is not.