State's Jobless Rate Worst in 26 Years

Sen. Durbin: "It's estimated there's only one job available for every six people looking for work today"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Ryan McVay

    The job search out there is still very painful.

    After a slight dip to 10 percent in August, new figures released Friday put the state's jobless rate at 10.5 percent in September.

    The three-month moving average rose 0.1 percent to 10.3 percent, its highest level since December 1983, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

    The state's unemployment rate at this time last year was 6.7 percent.

    Economists say the increase in the state's unemployment rate isn't unexpected.

    "Unemployment is a 'lagging indicator,'"said University of Illinois economist Fred Giertz. Even though the economy has slowly begun to grow again, it takes time for employment to catch up.

    One reason is that productivity has increased during the recession so that "even as we start expanding output again ... we don't need quite as many people as in the past," Giertz said.

    Things might also be worse than the state figures indicate because officials only count people who are actively seeking work and don't include those who have gotten discouraged and stopped looking, said Geoffrey Hemings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois.

    When those people are counted, the unemployment rate for August was 12.6 percent, more than 2.5 percent above the state's count for the month, Hemings said.

    "It's estimated there's only one job available for every six people looking for work today,"  Sen. Dick Durbin said Friday.

    Illinois lost 14,200 non-farm jobs in September, but the rate of job loss has been gradually slowing, said Greg Rivara, spokesman for the employment security department.

    Hemings said Illinois lost 306,000 jobs from August 2008 to August of this year.

    The U.S. jobless rate also rose to 9.8 percent in September, from 9.7 percent in August, the highest rate since 1983.

    Another key economic indicator, foreclosure activity, also points to a slow recovery in Illinois.

    The state's home foreclosure activity jumped almost 13.7 percent in the third quarter of this year from the second quarter.

    A report released Thursday by Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac shows Illinois with 37,270 foreclosure filings from July through September. Filings include default notices, auction-sale notices and bank repossessions.

    The filings represent one in every 141 housing units in the state, the 10th highest in the nation. That rate is 30.3 percent higher than for the same quarter last year.