Iroquois County Profile

Economic Characteristics

Basic economic characteristics for Iroquois County, as well as for Champaign, Ford, and Piatt counties are shown below. Iroquois County, with a population of approximately 28,000, is the second most populated county in the workforce investment area. The median household income of $47,800 is 9.5 percent lower than that of the region and 19 percent lower than the state median.

In 2017 there were 9,138 jobs in Iroquois County, accounting for approximately eight percent of the total number of jobs in the region, the second biggest share in the region. As a result, the Gross Regional Product (GRP) of roughly 780 million dollars in 2017 is also the second-largest in the workforce investment area.

Population Characteristics

The median household and family incomes in Iroquois County compared to state and national medians. Iroquois County has comparatively low median household and family incomes. However, the difference between median household income in Iroquois County and median household income in the state and nation is smaller than the difference in family income. Household income is the sum of income of all people over 15 years living in a household, including related family members and unrelated individuals. Family income is the income of all family members 15 and over. Families are groups of two or more individuals related by birth, marriage, or adoption that reside together.

The population pyramid shows that a large share of the population is between 45 and 64 years old, while the population between 20 and 44 years old is much smaller. The ratio between males and females is relatively uniform, with the exception of those over 75 years of age.

Iroquois County has seen a steady decline in its total population, decreasing by approximately six percent, from 29,718 in 2010 to 27,876 in 2017.

A doughnut chart shows that a large majority of the population (96%) is white. The second-largest race group is Other, which includes American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Some Other Race, and Two or More Races. This group together makes up approximately 1.8 percent of the Iroquois County population while 1.1 percent of the population identifies as African American. The Asian share of the population is small, with 192 individuals residing in the county in 2017, making up 7 percent of the population. Overall, 1,963 (7%) of the population in Iroquois County is of Hispanic origin.

Education Characteristics

Looking at the table and the chart for educational attainment by level, a majority of the county’s individuals 25 years and over (53%) have a high school diploma or less as their highest level of educational attainment. Forty-eight percent of the population in Iroquois County has at least some college experience, and 15 percent has a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Within Iroquois County there are large differences in educational attainment between races. Within the white population, 24 percent have completed a college degree, while 76 percent have a high school diploma or less.

Among the African American and American Indian/Alaska Native population, a majority have a high school diploma as their highest educational attainment. Six percent of the African American population have a college degree, compared to 39 percent of the Asian population and 33 percent of the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander population, and individuals identifying as two or more races.

Employment Characteristics

Examining employment by class, more than 78 percent of employed individuals in Iroquois County work for a private employer. This can be compared to 79.8 percent in the United States and 83 percent in Illinois, respectively. Iroquois County has a larger share of self-employed individuals compared to U.S. and state averages.

By occupation categories, Iroquois County exceeds state and national levels with its high share of workers in the natural resources, construction, and maintenance sectors. The management, business, science, and arts sectors are considerably smaller than state and national levels.

For share of jobs by industry category, educational services, health care, and social assistance jobs employ around 25 percent of the Iroquois County workers, slightly higher than U.S. and state averages. Agriculture and construction jobs are also more common in Iroquois County. However, there is a smaller share of jobs in the professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services industries in the county compared to Illinois and U.S. averages.

Unemployment Characteristics

Between 2008 and 2017, the unemployment rate in Iroquois County has mostly been somewhat higher than the national unemployment rate but lower than the Illinois unemployment rate. The Iroquois County labor market experienced a peak in the unemployment rate at 10 percent in 2010, just after the economic recession. Since then, it has declined to just under four percent in 2017.

Iroquois County has lower unemployment rates among many age groups compared to state and national levels. In Iroquois County, Individuals 20 to 24 years of age have the highest unemployment rates, while the lowest levels of unemployment are observed among those over 60 years of age.

Unemployment rates tend to decrease with higher educational attainment. The Iroquois County unemployment rates are similar to that of the state and nation, but with a slightly lower unemployment rate among the working population overall.

Among individuals with a disability or those living below the poverty level, the county-level unemployment rates are within five percentage points of the unemployment rates for these populations in the rest of the state and nation, referring to Unemployment Rate by Other Characteristics. At the county, state, and national levels, the unemployment rate is more than twice as high among those living below the poverty level compared to the general population. Among the population with a disability, the unemployment rate in Iroquois County is approximately 17 percent, which is significantly higher than the unemployment rates for the overall population over 16 years of age.

Commuting Characteristics

County-level commuting data within the region was summarized for employees and residents. In 2015, 12,890 Iroquois County residents were employed, while the total number of employed individuals working in the county was 7,790. Iroquois County has a higher number of employees working outside the county than the number of employed individuals living in the county. Most of the county’s residents work in another county, while 38 percent both reside and work in Iroquois County.

Industry Characteristics

Health care and government jobs are among the largest industries in Iroquois County based on 2-digit NAICS codes employing the most individuals within the county, even though the number of jobs in health care and social assistance has decreased between 2007 and 2017. Retail jobs have seen an upswing in the county, increasing by 20 percent over the 10-year period.

Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting is by far the most prominent industry sector in terms of relative concentration in the county, with a location quotient (LQ) of 4.61. However, the number of jobs has dropped by 38 percent, from 814 jobs in 2007 to 506 in 2017. Many of the smaller industry sectors also experienced decreases across the time period, resulting in a nine percent decline in the total number of jobs in 2017 compared to 2007. The educational services and manufacturing industries, in particular, have lost many jobs.

The largest employment change between 2007 and 2017 in the number of jobs is seen among retail salespersons, growing by 59 jobs (34%). Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors are the job titles seeing the greatest percent growth in the county, growing with 9 jobs (82%).

Looking at the 20 biggest industry sectors based on employees in Iroquois County, the largest employer is local government with more than 1,400 total employees. It is also the largest in terms of payroll, with a payroll of more than $60 million in 2016. The largest sector in terms of output is grain farming, exceeding $260 million in 2016.

The largest industry by sales is grain and oilseed milling with sales in 2017 exceeding $190 million. The animal production industry also had in 2017 total sales worth more than $100 million. These NAICS industries, as well as many smaller ones, have a vast majority of their total sales occurring outside the county.

Largest Business in Iroquois County

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 686 establishments in Iroquois County in 2016. An establishment is a single physical location at which business is conducted or where services or industrial operations are performed. Iroquois Memorial Hospital employs the most workers, with 300 employees. Walmart and Onarga Academy are also major employers in the county.

A majority of businesses in Iroquois County have between one and four employees as shown in the business size breakdown, accounting for 53.1 percent of the total establishments countywide. There is also a relatively large share of companies with between five and 19 employees (35.4%). The share of businesses that employ more than 99 individuals is around 1.3 percent. There are no businesses in Iroquois County employing more than 500 people.

Projected Employment Change By Industry

The biggest projected employment change is to occur in the educational services sector, with an increase of 28 percent between 2017 and 2027. The retail trade sector is projected to add the most jobs, around 200 over the 10-year period. The information, wholesale trade, and health care sectors are also expected to see growth.

The number of agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting jobs is projected to continue its decline, from roughly 500 in 2017 to approximately 300 in 2027. The manufacturing industry is also expected to see a slight decline over the same time period. Overall, the total number of jobs county-wide is projected to grow by about three percent, an increase of 300 jobs over the 10-year period.

Occupational Characteristics

Watseka and Gilman were the two cities with the greatest number of unique job postings in Iroquois County between April 2017 and April 2018. Watseka had the most job postings, with more than 1,200 positions for hire over a 12-month period.

CRST International was the company posting the most jobs in the county, followed by USA Truck and Platinum Supplemental Insurance. The median posting duration range from three days to 72 days among the listed companies.

The three most common job titles in demand in Iroquois County between April 2017 and April 2018 were truck drivers, insurance sales agents, and nurses. There was also a high demand for postsecondary teachers and delivery drivers.

The most sought-after common skills* in Iroquois County between April 2017 and April 2018 are studied. Management was desired in nine percent of the job postings and was the most frequently mentioned skill. Sales, customer service, and innovation skills were also in high demand, appearing in between six and nine percent of the job postings county-wide.

A commercial driver’s license (CDL) was the most common qualification* requested in job postings between April 2017 and April 2018. There were also many postings seeking various nursing qualifications, the most common being certified nursing assistants with 27 postings.

* A qualification is an achievement that makes an individual appropriate for a particular job or task.