City should issue a moratorium on water shutoffs to those economically impacted by COVID-19
The State of Illinois has extended its moratorium on evictions and utility companies have announced a moratorium on disconnecting power to those financially impacted by COVID-19. The City of Decatur should follow suit and issue a moratorium on water shutoffs until at least the moratorium on evictions has been lifted. The city did have a moratorium in place, but it was lifted at the end of June when the city’s emergency declaration expired. Water shutoffs began again on July 23. Pre-COVID-19, the city had approximately 20-30 shutoffs daily Monday-Thursday. In late July, when water shutoffs began again, the city was performing 100 shutoffs a day. By the end of August, the city was performing shutoffs at a rate similar to Pre-COVID-19 levels. In a time of significant economic uncertainty, the city should provide assistance to those financially impacted by the pandemic and continue to provide this basic necessity to those in need.
DECATUR UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DECREASES FROM 14.2% to 13.2%
Data released from the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) shows that the unemployment rate in Decatur decreased from a revised 14.2% in July to 13.2% in August. The unemployment rate was 4.6% in March and increased to 17.2% at its peak in April. The city’s August unemployment rate is 20% above the state’s unemployment rate of 11.0% and 57% above the U.S. unemployment rate of 8.4%. The number of employed individuals in Decatur increased a noteworthy 7% from a revised 26,630 in July to 28,488 in August, the highest total since February when there were 29,176 employed individuals. Overall, the number of employed individuals has decreased 2.4% since February with 688 fewer employed individuals.
The city continues to be experiencing among the lowest number of employed individuals in at least 45 years. Using annual data from the IDES between 1974-2019, the number of employed individuals ranged from 40,932 in 1977 to 29,979 in 2019.
JOB LISTINGS IN THE DECATUR AREA DECREASED 58% BETWEEN FEBRUARY AND JULY
Up until July, the Economic and Community Development Department recorded the number of job listings in the Decatur area as reported by Indeed.com. There were 1,385 job listings in the February report compared to 584 job listings in the July report, a decrease of 58% over a five-month period. Job listings have been similar in March (n=522), April (n=590), May (n=588), and June (n=574). With 4,330 unemployed individuals in Decatur in August (there were 1,356 in March), there are not enough jobs available for job seekers.
PLEASE EXPRESS YOUR VIEWS. CITIZENS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK TO CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS
If you would like to discuss this or any other issue with a city council member, phone numbers and e-mail addresses for each council member can be found at the following link: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council/.