The Quad-Cities' unemployment rate rose slightly last month, as more people entered the workforce to find jobs.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security, or IDES, reported Friday the Quad-City metro's unemployment rate rose to 4.5 percent in December, compared to 4.1 percent the same month last year.
In November, the Quad-Cities' unemployment rate remained the same over-the-year, at 3.7 percent.
After months of steadily declining unemployment, Tom Austin, an analyst with IDES, said it's common to see slight upticks in unemployment. He said that's because more people are seeking jobs, expanding the labor pool.
"When we see the trend with the unemployment rate moving down, that sends a signal to individuals who might have been waiting to seek employment opportunities that this is a time to reenter the workforce," Austin said. "After a period of declining unemployment, the rate often moves up slightly as we see new entrants come into the labor force."
The Quad-Cities' December rate was slightly higher than statewide unemployment, which was 4.4 percent last month, a drop from 4.7 percent in 2017. Unemployment rates increased over-the-year in 13 of Illinois' metro areas.
IDES reported there were 8,800 unemployed people in the Quad-Cities metro, which includes the bi-state region, in December. The area added more than 2,200 jobs compared to last year.
"In the Quad-City area, the number of people that are employed in the labor force increased over-the-year, even though we did see an increase in unemployment," said Tom Austin, an analyst with IDES. "We're still seeing growth in the nonfarm payroll."
The largest job gains were in the manufacturing sector, which added 900 positions, and employed 24,400 people in October. The leisure-hospitality industry added more than 700 jobs, employing 19,700 people. Professional-business services added 500 jobs.
Retail-trade recorded employment declines compared to one year ago, losing 500 jobs and employing 22,200 people.
"One area that was slightly different this year compared to other years was retail employment declining compared to prior years where it'd expand," Austin said. "In the Quad-City area, there's been a lot of pressure on the retail-trade sector. Some businesses and retail establishments have closed due to competition. The retail industry is harder hit this year, not just in the Quad-Cities. But that's one area where you'd typically see an increase but didn't this year."
Across the state, the IDES reported unemployment decreased only in the Chicago metro area, where the rate dropped to 3.6 percent. The highest unemployment rate was reported in Danville, at 6.4 percent.
December jobless rates for the Quad-City region were:
• Scott County: 2.9 percent, down from 3.4 percent in December 2017.
• Rock Island County: 5.8 percent, up from 4.5 percent.
• Henry County: 6 percent, up from 4.7 percent.
• Mercer County: 6.3 percent, up from 4.6 percent.
• Whiteside County: 5.3 percent, up from 4.3 percent.
• Rock Island city: 4.2 percent, up from 3.6 percent.
• Moline city: 5.6 percent, up from 4.4 percent last year.