Official: Danville Jobless Numbers “Flawed”
By Jeff Bossert
An economic official in Danville says reports that label the city’s latest national jobless figures among the worst in the country are “flawed.”
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted Danville’s unemployment numbers from May 2012 to May 2013.
Vermilion Advantage President and CEO Vicki Haugen said the 9.7 percent figure for Vermilion County – a point higher than a year ago – is preliminary. She said it also represents a single industry, and a few government jobs impacted by the federal sequester.
While there were about 300 layoffs at Freight Car Services in Danville, Haugen said the figures did not take into account growth in areas like education and health care. Haugen added that Danville would not see retail growth if it were ‘the unemployment hole of the country.'
“We’ve had Kohl’s open up, we’ve had Ross Dress for Less Open up, we’ve got TJ Maxx opening up, we have Burlington Coat Factory coming and opening up, a couple new restaurants opening up – one that just opened downtown," she said. "So overall, the base has been very strong.”
Haugen said media reports are ‘simply not true’ that compare the 1-percent hike in unemployment in Danville with a 2-percent increase in Yuma, Ariz., making for the two highest unemployment increases in the country.
She said it is 'disheartening' that a community like Danville can be compared to an area that has 30-percent unemployment, and 24,000 people out of a job.
She also noted that Illinois cities like Decatur and Rockford had higher jobless rates in May, according to Illinois' Department of Employent Security.
Haugen cited about 50 local job openings on the 442 jobs website - a career resource site for those living in Vermilion County.