CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Even though the Omicron variant is now the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the U.S., unemployment statistics in Champaign-Urbana, the state and the country as a whole are either decreasing or holding steady

Illinois’ unemployment rate improved for the eighth month in a row, falling to 4.5%. Champaign-Urbana’s unemployment rate is even better at 3.3%. At this time a year ago, Champaign-Urbana’s unemployment rate was 4.7%.

On a national scale, the U.S. jobs market appears largely unfazed by the Omicron variant. New unemployment claims hold steady at 205,000. The four-week average rose slightly to just over 206,000, but the historically low number suggest the Omicron variant didn’t spark layoffs right away.

Overall, nearly two million Americans were collecting traditional unemployment aid during the week that ended on Dec. 11.