BLOOMINGTON - McLean County's unemployment rate declined from March to April, but was still notably higher than a year ago.
The county's jobless rate was 5.9 percent in April, down from 6.3 percent in March, but still lagged far behind the 4.2 percent rate of April 2008.
"The economy isn't as good as last year," said Norman Kelewitz, an analyst with the Illinois Department of Employment Security, which tracks the monthly data. "No area I cover is recession-proof, but Bloomington-Normal has not had a lot of the significant layoffs other areas have had."
Kelewitz said McLean County's jobless rate has been influenced by residents who work outside the area and have been laid off. While it was the lowest among the state's metro areas, it was also the county's highest April unemployment rate since 1985.
Within the county, Bloomington had an unemployment rate of 6.3 percent in April, up from 4.3 percent in April 2008. Normal, meanwhile, had an unemployment rate of 4.9 percent in April, up from 3.9 percent during the same period last year.
McLean County tied with Adams and Menard counties for the eighth-lowest rate in the state. Brown County in western Illinois had the lowest, at 3.6 percent, while Putnam County, near LaSalle-Peru, had the highest, with 12.1 percent.
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Other counties in The Pantagraph area and their April (March) unemployment rates are: Woodford County 7.0, (6.5); Logan County 7.8, (8.6); Livingston County 10.9, (11.1); Ford County 8.0, (9.1); DeWitt County 7.7, (8.5); Iroquois County 8.5, (10.3); LaSalle County 10.8, (12.4); Macon County 9.8, (9.8); and Tazewell County 9.1, (8.9).