St. Clair County has the dubious distinction of being last among the 334 large U.S. counties in jobs created, according to a new U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. While 292 of those counties recorded job growth, St. Clair County had lost 3.1 percent of its jobs between December 2012 and December 2013. Madison County's number declined 0.4 percent.
According to one published report, St. Clair County Economic Director Terry Beach was puzzled and couldn't explain the low ranking, which is almost as troubling as the number itself. Others pointed to the loss of temporary construction jobs at the now completed Prairie State Energy Campus project.
But the completion of that project and of the Phillips 66 refinery expansion were the reasons given for steep job losses in Madison and St. Clair counties between June 2011 and June 2012. By the way, our area also ranked dead last for that prior reporting period.
Whatever the explanation, this is not where we want to be.