CHICAGO — The unemployment rate in Ford and Iroquois counties was 6 percent in February, up nearly a percentage point from year-ago levels, according to preliminary data released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).

In February 2018, the jobless rate in Ford County was 5.2 percent, while Iroquois County’s was 5.3 percent.

Also seeing a higher unemployment rate in February than a year earlier was the Champaign-Urbana Metropolitan Service Area (MSA), which includes Ford, Piatt and Champaign counties. The MSA’s rate was 4.8 percent, up from 4.4 a year earlier.

Unemployment rates increased over-the-year in February in 10 of Illinois’ metropolitan areas, decreased in two and were unchanged in two. Data also show nonfarm jobs increased in eight of the metropolitan areas.

In the Champaign-Urbana MSA, nonfarm employment decreased by 400 jobs in comparison with February 2018. Employment gains over the year were posted in government (+500), financial activities (+300), professional and business services (+100), and other services (+100).  Declines were reported in education and health services (-500), wholesale trade (-300), retail trade (-200) and manufacturing (-200).

Area employers advertised for 4,700 positions in February and about 79 percent sought full-time employment, according to Help Wanted OnLine data compiled by the Conference Board, which is a global, independent business membership and research association.

The non-seasonally adjusted Illinois jobless rate was 4.7 percent in February 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 4.1 percent in February 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.