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SPRINGFIELD — The unemployment rate decreased in September from year-ago levels in Ford and Iroquois counties.

Ford County’s rate fell from 4.3 percent in September 2018 to 3.8 percent in September 2019, while and Iroquois County’s declined from 4.1 percent to 3.7 percent, according to preliminary data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Illinois Department of Employment Security.

The unemployment rate also fell in the Champaign-Urbana Metropolitan Service Area, which includes Ford County, from 4.1 percent in September 2018 to 3.5 percent in September 2019.

In the Champaign-Urbana MSA, non-farm employment increased by 2,700 jobs when compared with year-ago levels. Employment gains over the year were posted in government (+1,100), leisure and hospitality (+800), education and health services (+300), professional and business services (+300), information (+300), financial activities (+100), transportation, warehousing and utilities (+100) and mining and construction (+100). Declines were reported in wholesale trade (-200), manufacturing (-100) and retail trade (-100).

Compared with figures from a year earlier, unemployment fell in 12 Illinois metropolitan areas in September, increased in one and was unchanged in one. The number of non-farm jobs increased in 13 Illinois metropolitan areas and decreased in one.

The industry sectors recording job growth in the majority of metro areas included mining and construction (11 of 14), education and health services (10 of 14), government (10 of 14), transportation, warehousing and utilities (nine of 14), leisure and hospitality (nine of 14) and manufacturing (eight of 14).

The non-seasonally adjusted Illinois unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in September 2019 and stood at 12.2 percent at its peak in this economic cycle in January 2010. Nationally, the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.3 percent in September 2019 and 10.6 percent in January 2010 at its peak.

The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and looking for work and is not tied to collecting unemployment insurance benefits.