Knox County had 4.2 percent unemployment for those seeking work in the month of February.
Note that this comes before any fallout from economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The unfortunate news is that those seeking in the work in the county few to a historic low of 20,880.
We’re still waiting for a clearer picture of what the closures or drastic reduction in services for several area businesses could due to the county’s economy.
The all-time low in labor force though represents more of a long term trend than recent events.
Knox has lost 17 percent of its workers over the last decade.
Even if someone had recently been laid off they wouldn’t necessarily be out of the labor force unless they stopped looking for work.
All 14 metro areas in Illinois saw lower unemployment rates in February.
The labor force has been on a downward trajectory since 1998 but largely remained flat for the past three years up until last fall.
Since September the number of workers in Knox County has shrunk by 6.3 percent.
Illinois continues to see a loss of manufacturing jobs, with 15,000 jobs lost over the year.
There was also a slight contraction in Illinois’ biggest job category; trade, transportation, and utilities.
The areas with the biggest growth? Education and health services, something that makeup about a quarter of Knox County jobs.