Chicago unemployment rate drops to 8 percent
BY SANDRA GUY Business Reporter email@example.com October 25, 2012 12:12PM
Updated: November 27, 2012 10:51AM
The Chicago-area unemployment rate dropped to 8 percent in September, the lowest rate in four years and down from 10.1 percent a year ago, the Illinois Department of Employment Security reported Thursday.
The Chicago area’s unemployment rate stood at 8.8 percent in August.
All areas of the state had declines in unemployment from a year ago, and all are seeing their lowest unemployment rates since September 2008, said IDES spokesman Greg Rivara.
The largest declines in unemployment were Rockford, down 2.6 points to 11 percent from 13.6 percent a year ago, followed by Chicago metro and Kankakee-Bradley, down 1.3 points to 10.5 percent from last September’s 11.8 percent.
The brighter employment picture reflects a U.S. economy that’s stronger than Europe’s; companies with staffs as bare-bones as they dare operate; cheap natural gas that helps manufacturers ramp up production, and stagnant wages that make American workers’ pay a good deal, experts said Thursday.
“Lots of companies, including Caterpillar and Navistar, are seeing benefits of hiring blue-collar labor in Illinois rather than in Europe or in Canada,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer of Harris Private Bank.
The Chicago area saw the largest year-over-year growth, a 4.4 percent increase, in jobs in professional and business services such as accounting, bookkeeping, architectural services and at companies that supply temporary workers to client businesses, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.