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More Employed and Fewer Unemployed in January

Unemployment dropped sharply in the Quad Cities in January - to 5.3 per cent compared with 7.4 per cent during the same month a year ago.

Tom Austin from the Illinois Department of Employment Security says not only did unemployment go down by two percentage points, but the number of people employed increased by nearly 6,000.

"Overall what we've been seeing is changes in the labor force as far as demand by employers looking for workers, as the area starts to come out of the pandemic. So there are some positive signs when we look overall at the effects of the pandemic, when we start to see return to work in industries that were especially hard hit, especially leisure and hospitality."

The biggest jobs gains here occurred in manufacturing, and leisure and hospitality, and the Quad Cities lost jobs in just one category, education and health services.

And for the tenth month in a row, unemployment rates fell in all 14 major metropolitan areas in Illinois.

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois. While a graduate student in the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois at Springfield (then known as Sangamon State University), he got his first taste of public radio, covering Illinois state government for WUIS. Here in the Quad Cities, Herb worked for WHBF Radio before coming to WVIK in 1987. Herb also produces the weekly public affairs feature Midwest Week – covering the news behind the news by interviewing reporters about the stories they cover.