Unemployment rate drops - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Unemployment rate drops

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WSIL -- The Illinois unemployment rate has slowly declined over the last year from 5 percent to 4.6 percent. 

Nationwide the jobless rate fell to 3.9 percent, a 17 year low in April after employers added 164,000 jobs. "It just continues to actually rise as far as job opportunities, I think where some of the unemployment lies is within the skills gap," said Erin Kopec. Kopec works with HireLevel to recruit employees for various positions locally. Kopec says there's a demand in Southern Illinois for skilled trades -- such as machinists, welders, fork lift drivers. 

Many of those positions fall within local manufacturers. More than 24,000 manufacturing jobs were added nationwide last month. 

"A lot people do think that there are not jobs available or that Southern Illinois is hiring but that is definitely not the case," said Kopec. 

Kopec says they're currently looking for more than 50 positions ranging from skilled to clerical workers. "Non-traditionally, people do not see women in the manufacturing or that type of environment where we place people all the time," said Kopec. 

Nationwide, women saw the largest decrease in unemployment, down to 3.5 percent. Men, teenagers, and other demographic groups saw little to no change. 

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