Cain: Double-digit job numbers disappoint
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain On Businessemail@example.com April 28, 2013 2:25PM
The Commerce Department said Friday spending at retail businesses rose 0.2 percent last month, the smallest gain in four months. | AP Photo
Updated: May 29, 2013 7:45AM
I’m tired of seeing double digits this year.
Double-digit unemployment has been reported in Will, Grundy and Kendall counties for the first three months of 2013. Last week, the Illinois Department of Employment Security released the March averages and Will County unemployment was 10 percent.
Last year, the county managed single-digit unemployment numbers all year except for January and the annual average was 9 percent.
But so far this year, the rate has been about 10 percent all three months. Grundy County also is stuck in double digits with a rate of 12.6 in March and almost 14 percent in January and February. And Kendall County is stuck in the 10- and 11-percent range like Will County. But the stagnant numbers aren’t just local.
“Economic uncertainty nationally and abroad dampened our country’s job growth,” said IDES Director Jay Rowell in his agency’s monthly report. “When that happens, Illinois’ share tends to be a negative number.”
Overall, Rowell said the economy is moving away from global recession and through a “stubborn economic growth cycle.”
Stubborn economy. Stubborn double digits.
Retail sales increase
While the unemployment numbers may be disappointing, retail sales are picking up, according to Melaniphy and Associates, which tracks retail sales in the Chicago area.
Cook and Will counties are the only Chicago area counties to surpass 2007, pre-recession, numbers. Will County hit about $7.7 billion in sales last year, up 8.6 percent or $611.6 million from 2007. And Joliet was first among the top 20 cities in general merchandise sales of $375.8 million.
Chefs battle at Rialto
A lot of people were pretty excited that celebrity Chef Robert Irvine cooked up some fun at the Rialto Square Theatre on April 20, especially Joliet Job Corps students and staff who attended.
That’s because Job Corps culinary arts instructor Chef Michael Garahan got to compete with Irvine. The two chefs tied after they cranked out chicken and couscous dishes. The tie was broken with a pushup contest, according to Job Corps spokeswoman Jan Larsen. Garahan managed 20, but it was no contest with the buff Irvine, who hosts the Restaurant Impossible show on the Food Network. But Garahan was thrilled nonetheless.
“Anytime a chef gets a challenge — it’s an awesome opportunity,” he told Larsen. “I welcomed the challenge.”