Employment & Unemployment

What is the indicator?

The employment and unemployment indicator shows several data points. The first figure is the number of people in the labor force, which includes the number of people who are either working or looking for work. The second two figures, the number of people who are employed and the number of people who are unemployed, are the two subcategories of the labor force. The unemployment rate is a calculation of the number of people who are in the labor force and unemployed as a percentage of the total number of people in the labor force.

The unemployment rate does not include people who are not employed and not in the labor force. This includes adults who are neither working nor looking for work. For example, full-time students may choose not to seek any employment during their college career, and are thus not considered in the unemployment rate. Stay-at-home parents are also considered outside of the labor force, and therefore outside the scope of the unemployment rate.


What does the data say? Are there any notable trends?


Employment and Unemployment

 Champaign County   City of Champaign   City of Urbana   
In Labor ForceEmployedUnemployedUnemployment RateIn Labor ForceEmployedUnemployedUnemployment RateIn Labor ForceEmployedUnemployedUnemployment Rate


The unemployment rates for Champaign County, the City of Champaign, and the City of Urbana are extremely similar between 2000 and 2014.

All three areas show a dramatic increase in the unemployment rate between 2006 and 2009. The unemployment rates for all three areas showed a slight decrease between 2010 and 2012, followed by another increase between 2012 and 2013. The unemployment rate in all three areas has shown a significant decrease since 2013. The next datasets to be released will show whether this trend will continue or abate.


Why is this important?/Why did we include it in our set of indicators?

The unemployment rate is a key economic indicator, and is illustrative of economic conditions in the county at the individual scale.

There are additional considerations to the unemployment rate. Because it does not count those who are outside the labor force, it can exclude individuals who were looking for a job previously, but have since given up. The impact of this on the overall unemployment rate is difficult to quantify, but it is important to note because it shows that no statistic is perfect.


Where did we get the data, and how often is it released?

This data is sourced from the Illinois Department of Employment Security’s Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), and from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Sources: Illinois Department of Employment Security, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS); U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.