The employment and unemployment indicator shows several data points. The first figure is the number of people in the labor force, which includes the number of people who are either working or looking for work. The second two figures, the number of people who are employed and the number of people who are unemployed, are the two subcategories of the labor force. The unemployment rate is a calculation of the number of people who are in the labor force and unemployed as a percentage of the total number of people in the labor force.
The unemployment rate does not include people who are not employed and not in the labor force. This includes adults who are neither working nor looking for work. For example, full-time students may choose not to seek any employment during their college career, and are thus not considered in the unemployment rate. Stay-at-home parents and other caregivers are also considered outside of the labor force, and therefore outside the scope of the unemployment rate.
The unemployment rate is a key economic indicator, and is illustrative of economic conditions in the county at the individual scale.
There are additional considerations to the unemployment rate. Because it does not count those who are outside the labor force, it can exclude individuals who were looking for a job previously, but have since given up. The impact of this on the overall unemployment rate is difficult to quantify, but it is important to note because it shows that no statistic is perfect.
The unemployment rates for Champaign County, the City of Champaign, and the City of Urbana are extremely similar between 2000 and 2018.
All three areas saw a dramatic increase in the unemployment rate between 2006 and 2009. The unemployment rates for all three areas showed a slight decrease between 2010 and 2012, followed by another increase between 2012 and 2013. The unemployment rate in all three areas decreased significantly between 2013 and 2017, and seemed to stabilize between 2017 and 2018.
This data is sourced from the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), and from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Sources: Illinois Department of Employment Security, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS); U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.