IMPACT OF POSSIBLE STATE LAYOFFS TO FAYETTE COUNTY
Recently an agreement was made between an Illinois state workers union and the state to save state jobs, at least for now. The agreement defers the layoffs of around 2,600 state workers for at least 17 months. One of the most impacted areas in southern Illinois, with these job losses, would have been Vandalia and Fayette County, at the Vandalia Correctional Center. According to Vandalia Mayor, Rick Gottman, Fayette County could lose around 120 jobs, which would raise the current unemployment rate of 14.3%. There is a possible loss of an estimated $100,000 of state taxes to the county and City of Vandalia, and a loss of another $175,000 of water and sewer revenues, a loss of federal aid, of school district revenues and of local jobs through business failures due to reductions of sales and services caused by unemployment. This current agreement just delays the decision of layoffs until sometime in 2011.
NATIONAL RECESSION CONTINUES TO PRESSURE ILLINOIS COMMUNITIES
According to data from the Illinois Department of Employment Security, December 2009 unemployment rates were above previous-year levels in all twelve metro areas for the 31st consecutive month. Unemployment rates in the Illinois Section of the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area increased from 8.1% in December 2008 to 10.3% in December 2009. Rates for the same period in Bond County increased from 8.5 - 10.3%. Clinton County rates showed a 7.3 - 8.8% rise and Madison County unemployment rates increased from 8.0 - 10.0%. Employment decreased over the year in seven industry sectors while only four sectors showed an increase in the number of jobs. IDES Director Maureen O'Donnell recommends that those who are currently unemployed should identify and obtain skills that will be in demand when this national recession relents and job growth returns to Illinois.
SOIL AND WATER MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP
There will be a Soil and Water Management Workshop at the Montgomery County U of I Extension office Wednesday, February 10 from 9:00 a.m - 2:25 p.m. Lunch will be provided. Topics include biochar, new conservation tillage tools, and the Web Soil Survey. The registration fee is $45.00 per person with registration due by Friday, February 5. To register, send name, address, and payment to U of I Extension, Montgomery County Office, #1 Industrial Park Dr., Hillsboro, IL 62049.