When Rising Unemployment is a Good Sign

Mar 14, 2019

It may not seem like it, but rising unemployment in the Quad Cities at the beginning of the new year signalled a strong economy. Unemployment here rose to 5.5 per cent in January, from 5.1 per cent a year ago.

Tom Austin, from the Illinois Department of Employment Security, says people who were not officially considered unemployed because they were not looking for jobs, decided to start looking.

"Part of the reason that we see that is we're starting to see more people, and we started to see that at the end of 2018, more people entering the labor force. And as those individuals enter the labor force they don't typically find a job right away but they're seeking opportunities that they may not have seen earlier in 2018."

The Quad Cities gained jobs in January in several major categories including manufacturing, professional and business services, and education and health. But this area lost jobs in government and retail.

The January unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent means about 10,600 people in this area were out of work AND looking for jobs.