EAU CLAIRE — There are still about 2,400 people in the Eau Claire area who had jobs before the pandemic but are not currently employed.

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development released statistics on Wednesday showing the difference between how many people were working just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Eau Claire metropolitan area compared to the current employment level.

Last month there were 85,500 people employed in Eau Claire and Chippewa counties combined, based on preliminary, seasonally adjusted figures. In March 2020 there were 87,900 employed in the Eau Claire metro area.

Officially declared a pandemic in mid-March 2020 — just after that month’s employment statistics had already been calculated — the impact of COVID-19 on the job market was dramatically apparent the following month. In April 2020, employment in the Eau Claire metro area plummeted to 75,300. Since then jobs have been coming back, but some sectors including leisure and hospitality have not yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

The unemployment rate is continuing to decline in the Eau Claire metro. In March 2020 it stood at 4% and jumped the next month to 13.4% as the pandemic delivered a quick shock to the economy. But it has receded since then, reaching 4.7% last month — an improvement on February’s 4.9%.