Unemployment in the Rockford metro area dropped from 13.4 percent in March 2011 to 11.7 percent in March 2012 -- the largest decline in any Illinois metropolitan area – according to a government report released Thursday. Statewide unemployment dropped to 9.0 percent.
Unemployment in the city of Rockford also dropped 1.7 points, but it stands at 12.8 percent this year compared to 14.5 percent in March 2011.
The Rockford metro unemployment rate is the highest in the state. The lowest rate is in the Bloomington-Normal metro area at 6.7%. The DeKalb County rate fell 0.6 point to 8.4%
Plans by OSF St. Anthony Medical Center to acquire Rockford Health System have been called off, just days before officials from both sides were to testify at a Federal Trade Commission hearing in Washington, D.C.
Most of the attention in Illinois has been on the primary, but there’s another vote coming up March 28th. Corn farmers are being asked whether to raise the voluntary corn checkoff rate. Paul Taylor raises corn in DeKalb County. He’s also a member of the Illinois Corn Growers Association and works with the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, which is asking for the increase. WNIJ’s Guy Stephens spoke with Taylor. He began by asking, just what is a checkoff?