Metro East Area News Briefs

Chronicle Media

Metro East unemployment rate falls

The unemployment rate in the Illinois section of St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) fell to 4.5 percent in August; down 0.4 percentage points from the 4.9 percent recorded in the same month last year, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).

Statewide, the unemployment rate in Illinois was 4.2 percent in August; down 1.1 percentage points from the 5.3 percent recorded in the same month a year earlier. Nationally, the not-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in August 2018.

The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and looking for work. It is not tied to the number of people collecting unemployment insurance benefits, the IDES notes.

Unemployment fell in 13 of the 14 BLS-recognized MSAs in Illinois. Champaign-Urbana posted no change in the unemployment rate. The decrease in Metro-East was roughly the arithmetic average for MSAs across the state.

Metro East had a total of 239,300 nonfarm jobs (not seasonally adjusted) in August; up 1,100 from 238,200 in the same month of last year.

Statewide, Illinois had 6,138,000 employment positions in August; an increase of 54,900 from the 6,083,100 jobs recorded by the BLS and IDES a year earlier.

Ten of the state’s 14 metropolitan areas saw year-over-year job increases in August; with three reporting losses in the total number of job available and Peoria reporting no change.

The BLS defines the Illinois portion of the St. Louis area as Bond, Calhoun, Clinton, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair counties.

The adjacent Carbondale-Marion metropolitan area lost 500 jobs from August 2018 to August 2017 – the largest job loss in the state. Although its unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage points year-over-year.

The industry sectors, recording job growth in the majority of Illinois metro areas, included Mining and Construction (10 of 14), Manufacturing (10 of 14), Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities (10 of 14), Professional and Business Services (10 of 14), Leisure and Hospitality (9 of 14), and Education and Health Services (8 of 14).

Alorton Mayor Jo Ann Reed

Alorton mayor charged

Illinois State Police executed a search warrant on the Alorton Village Hall, Oct. 1. The raid came a few days after Alorton Mayor Jo Ann Reed was charged for allegedly impersonating a police officer.

Illinois State Police on Sept. 15th reportedly received a complaint from a motorist that Mayor Reed was weaving in and out of traffic along I-64, while driving a black police car with flashing lights.

Reed has been charged two counts of official misconduct and one count of possessing oscillating lights.

Alorton Village Administrator Lamar Gentry current awaits sentencing in East St. Louis Federal Court after pleading guilty Sept. 19 to making false statements to the FBI.

According to court records, Gentry acknowledged mislead federal agents and the Southern Illinois Public Corruption Task Force, as they investigated why a village staff car was found near the scene of a shooting incident in St. Louis.

His sentencing is set for Dec. 18.

In May, Mayor Reed’s residence was destroyed in a suspicious fire.  The mayor told a St. Louis television news crew the fire may have been set by political enemies.

The Illinois State Fire Marshall’s Office has been investigating.

McCormick tapped for Municipal League board

Godfrey Mayor Mike McCormick was elected to a one-year term on the Illinois Municipal League’s Board of Directors during the statewide organization’s annual conference, Sept. 20-22.

He was among 36 league vice presidents elected during the conference. Macomb Mayor Michael J. Inman was elected to a one-year term as president.

McCormick was elected mayor of Godfrey in April 2009; after four years as a village trustee.

A past president of the Lewis and Clark Community College Foundation and the Alton-Godfrey Rotary Club, McCormick currently serves on the boards of Alton Salvation Army, United Methodist Village, North Alton-Godfrey Business Council, and Alton Regional Convention Visitors Bureau.

McCormick is a past president of the Alton-Godfrey Rotary Club and is a former board member of the Oasis Women’s Center in Alton.

A former procurement coordinator at McDonnell Douglas Corp. in St. Louis and a former tennis coach at Marquette Catholic High School, McCormick is probably best known in Alton as “The Pizza Guy” having owned and operated a successful pizza parlor for 14 years.

The city of Alton is named one of the state’s best places to retire.

Alton again named “Best Place to Retire”

The prestigious financial publication, Forbes, has named Alton the best place in America to retire – the second such honor for the city in 30 days.

The magazine cites the “charming” Mississippi River city’s low median home price ($60,000) and cost of living (22 percent below national average), as well as its high rank on Milken Institute list of best places for successful aging, access to physicians, the Illinois state income tax exemption for Social Security earnings, and state income tax breaks on pension income.

However, the town does have poor air quality and a serious crime rate above national average, the magazine cautions.

Naperville, a Chicago suburb, was named Forbes’ second-best place to retire.

In August, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) named Alton as a “Best Place to Live for Under $40,000 a Year.”

Earlier this year became only the fourth city in Illinois to join AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly Communities.



–Metro East Area News Briefs–