The Quad-City unemployment rate remained steady at 8.4 percent in July.

The good news is that the gap between the 2009 and 2010 jobless numbers continues to narrow, and analysts say that could indicate that the local job market is in recovery.

The July report was released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The department tracks numbers for the Quad-City metropolitan statistical area, or MSA, which includes Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties in Illinois and Scott County in Iowa.

The 8.4 percent rate mirrored the number for June of this year. In July 2009, the jobless rate stood at 7.9 percent.

In July 2008, it was 5.1 percent.

“Over the past month, there are positive signs, like the number of people in the labor force has expanded,” said Tom Austin, a labor analyst with the department. “That growth points to positive signs.”

Breaking down the numbers, there are 100 fewer people working non-farm jobs than a year ago versus 1,100 more people considered unemployed than in July 2009. The number of people in the civilian labor force increased by about 3,300. 

 Austin said a factor in that statistic is that many high school and college students who usually seek summer employment found themselves competing against more experienced people who had been laid off from their jobs. Many of those young people have had “difficulty gaining employment this year compared to prior years,” he added.

The department added that the July 2010 seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.3 percent in Illinois and 9.5 percent in the United States. The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and looking work. People who are not collecting benefits would be reflected in the rate if they continue to look for work.


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