|Seasonal hiring improving in BloNo|
|Written by Drew Zimmerman, Senior Staff|
|Tuesday, 12 June 2012 17:01|
McLean County has undergone recent improvements in jobless rates based on many local companies requiring work for the summer.
Companies, such as Charlie Knapp Builders, need more work based on an increase in business over the last year. This year, the company has built three local homes, four are in construction, and two are being remodeled. Overall, there has been an upward trend over the past two and a half years, according to Paula Knapp, owner of Charlie Knapp Builders.
“Business has picked up a lot and we have definitely seen improvement since late summer 2011. It feels like people were concerned with getting a construction loan because the economy has been tight in terms of lending, so they wait until things pick up. But people must feel more confident or they wouldn’t be moving ahead,” Knapp said.
In addition, Knapp believes that this momentum will continue for the rest of the year, since people are not as afraid of a tightened economy.
Even though hiring rates have improved because of the vacancies left by students returning home, there are still some companies who were unable to hire new people.
For example, Scribbles Center for Learning in Bloomington has instead chosen to expand the hours of part-time workers to deal with an increase in business over the summer.
What this improvement in jobless rates will say for the community on a long-term basis is still inconclusive.
“If you look at the direction the unemployment rate has gone over the past two years, it has been volatile. There has been slow gradual improvement from 2010 to 2012. Over the months and quarters there have been increases and decreases, so over time, there has been a slow and unequal improvement in unemployment,” Ken Springer, senior associate for research and economic data at the Economic Development Council of Bloomington–Normal, said.
Knapp said the last three years seemed reminiscent of the early 1980s when things were slow because of a downturned economy, and economic progress seemed to be in a cyclical pattern.
According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, McLean County’s unemployment rate was at 6.2 percent in April 2012, which was below the seasonally adjusted average of 8.7 percent for the state and 8.1 percent for the U.S.
Last year, the industries that ranked highest based on growth in employment, hiring, and hiring growth on statewide basis were food services, professional and technical services, administrative and support services, hospitals, and ambulatory health care services, according to IDES statistics.
Administrative and support services had one of the highest growths in employment, with 6.2 percent. Professional and technical services and merchant wholesalers were among the best industries in terms of hiring growth, at 19.6 percent and 25.5 percent respectively.
In a ten year estimate from 2008–2018, the industries that will have the greatest percentage of employment change will be data communications analysis and network systems, biomedical engineers, aerospace engineering and operations technology, occupational therapy, and home health, according to IDES.