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Unemployment is Lower in North Chicago Suburbs

Certain sectors still struggle, and language remains a barrier for some.

While unemployment gradually inches downward in Illinois, jobless rates are lower in Chicago's northern suburbs.

Niles’ unemployment rate is 6.7 percent–nearly two percentage points lower than Chicago and well below the 9 percent national average, according to April numbers from the state

In Decreasing Order: 

  • Niles - 6.7 percent
  • Morton Grove - 6.6 percent
  • Skokie - 6.6 percent
  • Evanston - 6.4 percent
  • Glenview - 5.9 percent
  • Wilmette - 5.4 percent

North Shore Unemployment

A tendency toward higher education levels explains a lot, said Greg Rivara, communications manager for the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

People who live in wealthier areas tend to have advanced degrees and training, he said, which both insulates them from the recession-driven layoffs and helps speeds the job search of those who are laid off.

“These are suburbs with populations who tend to be highly educated,” he said, “and education, of course, is the greatest precursor to employment.”

In addition, regardless of the economy, wealthy and retired people are much less likely to show up in unemployment statistics. 

Employment Workshops

Low jobless rates are little comfort to those still looking for work, including a dozen or so who showed up for an employment workshop at the Morton Grove Public Library last week. The Illinois Worknet was the event's host.

Several had been laid off in harder-hit industries or sectors. Others are struggling with language barriers to employment.

Wilmette resident Sherri Gould lost a client services job she had for 10 years at Quest Diagnostics, a medical testing company that suffered as the economic downturn led to fewer people with health insurance, fewer doctor visits and fewer tests being ordered.

“Someone who is unemployed and has just lost their health insurance is not going to go to the doctor,” she said.

There is good news for Gould, who wants to stay in health care, according to state job growth trends. More than 26,000 jobs have been added in the educational and health services sector since state unemployment peaked in January 2010--and 100,300 jobs overall.

Education as Route to Jobs

Education is one place job seekers turn to improve their skills and become more employable.

Haleh S. Kaveh, who immigrated from Iran in March to join family in Morton Grove, has been taking intensive English classes three days each week to get an office management position like the one she held at an architectural firm.

Her English is coming along, her aunt Marilynn Salimi said, but idioms and colloquial expressions are tough to master quickly.

Competition is fierce for the best jobs, workshop leader Fred Ettinger said, and employers are looking for anything–positive or negative--to distinguish among applicants.

Local Government Shrinking

Niles resident Tim Spadoni was recently laid off from a sector that continues to shed jobs: local government.

The information technology specialist and several part-time workers let go this year by the Village of Niles. Because the village is so reliant on property taxes, Spadoni explained, it will be among the last to feel the recovery.

He’s optimistic about his prospects, though.

“I’m reasonably intelligent, moderately good looking and have a stellar personality,” he said. “I should be employable.” 

Clark Kent June 01, 2011 at 04:06 PM
In the mid-90s I warned optimists that the Bush/Clinton/Bill Daley NAFTA Treaty would result in jobs going to Mexico (where there was initial joy, but not now!) and ultimately to China (where standards for products are as low as the wages). Media attention focused on tariffs, which weren't even a problem; there were hardly any. Only the "right-wing press" exposed the plans for the construction of a CANAMEX Corridor, initially considered to connect Puerto Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico, with Winnipeg, Canada. Alternative routes are currently being explored. See update http://www.examiner.com/international-trade-in-national/nafta-and-the-impact-on-us-jobs-and-exports?render=print People employed in maritime shipping will be negatively affected ( http://www.cjd.org/paper/corrid.html ). Houston may suffer, but imagine traditional American ports like the LA area and San Francisco! American unemployment in these areas will surge, and the laments of workers will be directed toward government's inability to rectify things. Such jobs will dissolve never again to reappear. The structural enemployment of the future is staggering to ponder. America has lost its primary and secondary labor market strength, and now floats on a sea of tertiary jobs, low-paying "service" slots. If this isn't enough, the Obama/Pelosi/Durbin/Schakowsky liberals push for immigration "amnesty" which will inundate labor markets everywhere and further deplete "unsocial insecurity" and other "entitlements."
jeremyheath June 02, 2011 at 10:07 AM
Currently, the cost of health care is rising at a much higher rate than inflation. Even if we were to implement your beloved single payer, at a certain point we can not afford to pay for every new treatment and technology that comes along if we want to have any semblance of an economy. If you dont have insurance you should check out "Penny Health Insurance" for information on how to get one.
Margaret Mcintyre June 17, 2011 at 01:10 PM
ClarkKent, I also came to the same conclusion back in the Clinton years.... I was surprised he passed NAFTA. I've worked in Human Resources for 25 years and watched the same rerun movie with each downsizing, reorganization and other attempts of the market to adapt to Illinois public unions, resulting tax environment and these destructive NAFTA policies. I've also been an education "activist" and warned that NAFTA in combination with our union controlled public school systems and resulting inferior curriculum and pedagogy would prove to be the perfect storm. While it's true that the North Shore has one of the highest education levels in the country, the North Shore is also heavily populated with lawyers, government related employees and those who benefit from the downturn, caused the downturn, or otherwise can isolate themselves (relatively) from employment losses. For example, my real estate attorney made up for lost closings revenue by doing foreclosure work. In contrast my doctor hasn't been reimbursed by the State of IL for two years. What the North Shore residents could not do is isolate themselves from the real estate bubble or larger decline of the state of IL which will effect even the North Shore, which has seen a decline in population. http://wilmette.patch.com/articles/2010-census-data-wilmette-population-declines-by-2-percent
Margaret Mcintyre June 17, 2011 at 01:14 PM
The Schakowsky mentality flourishes in the very places less (obviously) affected by the employment losses.... like Wilmette, where folks will cling to the myth that they are isolated from the downturns in Chicago and the rest of IL (as demonstrated by the recent passing of the school referendum.)
Michael Melinger June 17, 2011 at 04:48 PM
We've seen interesting changes over the years in the caregiver labor pool in the North Shore. We have offices in Skokie, Chicago, and Park Ridge, and are constantly recruiting people to work as caregivers. After 9/11 Homeland Security tightened visas & the dollar got weaker compared to many foreign currencies. Many individuals working in caregiving & home health are from abroad. Caregivers from Poland can go to countries like UK, Germany, & France to work. Closer to home and the currency is stronger so their wages are effectively higher. This meant less of these individuals coming to USA in 2002-2005. In 2008 as the economy slowed the situation changed. We saw an onslaught of applicants looking for work. This actually made things harder. We place caregivers in the senior's homes. Seniors can be vulnerable, & we must screen VERY carefully, which we do (criminal checks, drug testing, fingerprinting, DMV checks, Work & Personal references, etc.). But the point is when the unemployment rate rises, and things are slower, in our corner of the world, hiring the best caregivers gets trickier, not easier. Right now we've seen a slowdown in job applicants. Don't know if its temporary or not. If you or someone you know is interested in working as a caregiver have them contact us in Skokie on our Job Hotline 866-696-0940. They can also visit our website and apply to work online at www.homeinstead.com/383 . Michael Melinger www.homeinsteadchicago.com

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