State: Unemployment rate improving locally
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain email@example.com March 28, 2013 6:04PM
JOLIET – If you look at the big picture, unemployment rates are dropping in Will, Grundy and Kendall counties.
The year-end 2012 numbers posted recently by the Illinois Department of Unemployment Security show Will County’s annual unemployment rate was in single digits for the first time since 2008 when it was 6.1 percent. The Will County rate rose to a high of 10.7 percent in 2010 and stayed slightly above 10 percent until it hit 9 percent last year.
In Grundy County, the annual rate dropped from a peak of 12.4 percent in 2010 to 10.2 percent last year. In Kendall County the rate dropped from a high of 10 percent in 2009 to 7.8 percent last year.
While annual rates appear to be coming down since the Great Recession ended, recent monthly unemployment numbers are up. 2013 rates all increased from January to February: From 10.5 percent to 11 percent in Will County, 13.9 percent to 14 percent in Grundy County and 9.0 to 9.7 percent in Kendall County.
Municipal numbers from January to February also rose: Bolingbrook, 9.1 percent to 9.7 percent; Homer Glen, 8.3 percent to 8.8 percent; Joliet: 14.1 percent to 14.4 percent; Lockport, 10.1 percent to 10.5 percent; Plainfield: 8.3 percent to 8.8 percent; and Romeoville, 10.4 percent to 10.9 percent.
Greg Rivara, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Employment Security said the spike in the county and municipal unemployment rates in 2013 was expected because the state numbers, which are reported earlier, also rose.
But a jump in the unemployment rate isn’t as dire as one might think, he added. The number of jobs in Illinois has grown for 23 out of the past 28 months, so more people may be looking to fill some of those positions, Rivara said.
“Certainly some of the increase is tied to people being more confident in the economy and they’re re-entering the workforce,” he said.
People who are looking for jobs in 2013 were on the sidelines during the worst of the economic downturn, he explained. But now that they are seeking work, they’re being counted in the surveys that are used to determine the unemployment rates, Rivara said.
Susan Flessner, administrative manager for the Joliet-based Workforce Services Division of Will County, said the people who seek help from her agency do seem to have more jobs to choose from.
“Even as recently as three or four weeks ago we had 150 jobs posted and today it was 182,” she said. “And some of those job postings are for multiple positions.”
Overall, the number of people seeking help from Workforce Services is down a bit, she added.
“We’re hoping that is a good sign that there aren’t as many people out of work or they’re finding jobs.”