Evanston’s jobless rate rose dramatically last month — from 2.5% in February to 3.9% in March.

The figures, released Thursday by the Illinois Department of Employment Security, are the first direct indication of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on employment levels in the city, but since the numbers capture only the very earliest days of layoffs due to the pandemic, they almost certainly dramatically understate the depth of the crisis now.

The state reported 966 Evanston residents were unemployed and looking for work in February. That number soared to 1,503 in March.

The overall size of the city’s labor force also grew — from 38,094 workers in February to 38,763 in March — indicating that while many people were losing jobs, others were still managing to find new ones.

In March a year ago Evanston’s jobless rate stood at 3.0%

The jobless rate for the Chicago region grew from 3.6% in Februrary to 4.8% in March. And statewide the jobless rate rose from 3.5% percent to 4.4%.

Related story

Nearly 103,000 more seek jobless benefits in the state (4/23/20)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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