QC economy: Jobless rate up, more people have jobs

The unemployment rate in the Quad Cities was at 5% in September. That’s up from 3.4% this time last year. However, more people have jobs and the workforce shortage in Iowa continues, according to reports. CREDIT DAVE THOMPSON

The unemployment rate is up in the Quad Cities, but more people have jobs.

That’s the word from the September employment report that showed the jobless rate up in most parts of Illinois, according to information released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).

But in Iowa, the unemployment rate continues to fall as the state’s workforce shortage continues, an Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) report shows.

The local highlights of the IDES report include:

  • The unemployment rate in the Quad Cities was 5% in September – up from 3.4% this time last year.
  • The total non-farm jobs in the QC metropolitan statistical area (MSA) was 185,800 in September. That’s up from 183,300 the same time last year. The employment report states that in the government jobs sector, there were 1,600 jobs added. The leisure-hospitality sector added 1,300 jobs, and educational-health services  added 500 jobs.(+500). However, the professional-business services sector lost 900 jobs, construction lost 200 jobs, information sector lost 100 jobs, and transportation-warehousing-utilities sector also lost 100 jobs.
  • The unemployment rate in Rock Island County was 6.4% (up from 3.8% last year); the City of Rock Island was 6.2% (up from 4%);  Moline was 6.6%( up from 3.8%); and Galesburg was 7.1% (up from 5.1%)

“The consistently expanding labor market and employment opportunities throughout the state continue to instill confidence and motivation into workers and jobseekers looking for their next employment opportunities,” Illinois Deputy Governor Andy Manar said in the IDES release.

“IDES and its workforce partners continue to provide critical employment and reemployment services to match individuals with the right employers to take advantage of the expanding labor market.”

The statewide Illinois unemployment rate in September was 4.9%, up from 4.2% a year ago. Total non-farm jobs in Illinois reached 6,185,500 this September, which was up from 6,089,500 last year.

Iowa’s jobless rate ticked up in September to 3%, from August’s 2.9%, but remained below the 3.1% rate in September 2022, IWD reports. Iowa’s unemployment rate remains well below the national rate of 3.8%.

However, the numbers for September still show an overall workforce shortage in Iowa, the workforce development monthly report shows. It states there were 64,661 job openings across the state in September, with 52,800 Iowans unemployed.

“National economic uncertainty continues to impact sectors like leisure and hospitality and professional and business services, but other industries are continuing to hire,” Beth Townsend, executive director of Iowa Workforce Development, said in an earlier IWD news release.

Here are unemployment rates for September 2023, provided by IDES, for other Illinois MSAs.  

  • Peoria: 5.4%, up from 3.8% last year. Total non-farm jobs were 172,100, up from 170,700 from last year.
  • Rockford: 6.9%, up from 4.8% last year. Total non-farm jobs were 146,300, down from 147,300 last year.
  • Decatur: 6.7%, up from 4.8% last year. Total non-farm jobs were 48,600, down from 48,900 last year.

The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and seeking employment. A person who exhausts benefits, or is ineligible, still will be reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.

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