Share |


Carthage Workforce and Demographics Information  

Quality Workforce

Strong Midwestern values and a work ethic inspired by a rich agricultural background make the workforce in the Carthage area one in whom any business would be proud. Some thoughts from those who know:

David Fox - Senior Vice President of Marine Bank & Trust

“The Carthage area is blessed with a diverse pool of potential employees ranging from the non-skilled to highly specialized and skilled. Because we are centrally located in Hancock County near the intersection of 4 highways, this location is a great benefit for both employers and employees since a 30 minute commute provides a pool of several thousand potential employees, who are willing to drive to get to a good job. Although the immediate area is known for agriculture, there are many other employment opportunities in medical, manufacturing, technology, other professional and/or skilled, and blue collar occupations, and businesses are able to find many quality candidates to fill the available jobs. The work ethic from this agricultural background makes them excellent and hard working employees. Our own experience with recent employment opportunities is that we have had a variety of very qualified applicants to consider. This diverse employer market and the opportunity to work in a family-rich rural environment makes this area attractive for both skilled and non-skilled individuals.”


Blanche Shoup - Director of the Workforce Investment Office of Western Illinois:

The Workforce Investment Board of Western Illinois has conducted ten community audits since 2002 to determine the needs and demands of the local labor force and employers in this area. Two studies, “Commuter Patterns & Labor Force Study (2002 – 2003)” and “Western Illinois Labor Market Analysis Report (January 2003)” focused on the available labor supply and quality present in the nine counties of Western Illinois . These studies have been conducted for three geographic regions within the local workforce area, northern (Knox, Warren and Henderson counties); central (Hancock, McDonough and Schuyler counties); and southern (Adams, Brown, and Pike counties). Carthage, in Hancock County, is in the central region.

The analyses found that the central region provides a good place for employers to find above average, skilled workers.

The overall availability in the central region is “above average” to “very good” even though unemployment is very low. A wide range of manufacturing and non-manufacturing skills are available with the exception of maintenance mechanics. Most other manufacturing skills are “good” to “excellent” to find.

In evaluating the labor quality of workers in the central region, the researchers found that the overall quality is “above average” to “very good” and may be stronger than other regions in the Midwest . There is low turnover and high productivity among the workers. Worker basic skills are much better than in other parts of the country.

Wages are influenced more by demand for attracting workers than by sizable union membership. There is not much upward pressure on wages and fringe benefits paid are generally around 30%.

These studies affirm the high quality of the western Illinois labor force.


Following are some of the employer quotes from the 26 corporate interviews taken during studies done by the Workforce Investment Office:

  • “Turnover is low, absenteeism is low and general quality of employees is excellent.”
  • “Good area, good friendly people, great place to have a business with personal friendly care.”
  • “Good work ethic for demanding jobs.” People will take the extra step to help you.”
  • “Quality of life, recreation, and housing are excellent as well as the white collar workforce.”
  • “You will get 110% dedication from employees and a team spirit.” The quality of life has kept me here. It is the Mayberry of the world.”
  • “We get cream of the crop employees; they grow up on farms and have good mechanical skills.”
  • “We have never had any problems recruiting trainees and hiring from the university or even the community college because the students are great and the university puts out such a great product.”


Additional Labor Market Information

Western Illinois Labor Market Analisys
Download Now (PDF)

Workforce Investment Board of Western Illinois
First Source -

Illinois Labor Market Information
Workforce Info Center -

Illinois Department of Employment Security
One Source -

Labor Market Information Source

Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Bureau of Workforce Development




 1990 Census2000 Census
Hancock County 20,121
Age Structure  
0 - 4 Years Old188147
5 - 9 Years Old166190
10 - 17 Years Old241306
18 - 24 Years Old197198
25 - 44 Years Old700693
45 - 64 Years Old505594
65 and Over660597
Other Age Characteristics  
Median Age39.140.5
Black or African American213
American Indian and Alaska Native613
Asian or Pacific Islander115
Other Race or Multiple Races610
Total Households1,1721,184
Average Household Size2.32.2
Household Type
Single Person Household401421
Percent of All Households34.235.6
Married Household with Children246222
Percent of All Households21.018.8
Female-Headed Household with Children5983
Percent of All Households5.07.0
Marital Status (Population 15 Years and Over)
Never Married433416
Educational Attainment (Population 25 Years and Over)
Less Than 9th Grade229108
9th to 12th Grade, No Diploma210161
High School Graduate (Includes Equivalency)616620
Some College, No Degree356518
Associate Degree104102
Bachelor's Degree215191
Graduate or Professional Degree135183
Percent High School Graduate or Higher76.585.7
Percent Bachelor's Degree or Higher18.819.9
Civilian Labor Force (Population 16 Years and Over)

Data courtesy Rural Economic Technical Assistance Center, Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs

Download complete report