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Report shows fewer out of work here : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Report shows fewer out of work here
Kendall County unemployment rate dropped two percentage points in May

by Matt Schury


Kendall County's unemployment rate in May was down over two percentage points from last year, according to the latest report from the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Likewise in the Village of Oswego, the unemployment rate dropped to 6.3 percent this May, a 1.8 percent decrease from last year, a six-year low as well.

The rate in the county was recorded as 6.3 percent this May compared to 8.4 percent last year and was the lowest rate in six years for the month, the report states.

For historical context, the highest unemployment rate for May, since the recession of 2009, was recorded at 10.3 percent that year. In May of 2008 the unemployment rate was 5.7 percent.

Kendall County was one of 99 counties whose rates fell this May. Statewide the IDES report says the May unemployment rates fell in every metro area for the second consecutive month and all are also at six-year lows. The unemployment rate for Illinois in May (7.5 percent) remained above the national average of 6.3 percent. However the national rate dipped 1.2 percent and the state rate dipped 1.7 percent from the same time last year.

IDES Director Jay Rowell pinned the good economic news on "growing consumer confidence" and an increase in discretionary spending.

"We must not rest, however, until this improving economy touches every doorstep in our state," Rowell said in a press release.

Not adjusting for seasonal employment, the IDES statistics show the average unemployment rate for the first five months of this year at 7.42 percent compared to 8.84 percent last year.

Greg Rivara, a spokesperson for the IDES, said the good news also has to do with a hiring delay that took place during the "brutal winter."

"Hiring that you would have expected in February, March and even April was delayed," he said.

Rivara added that there were two good indicators the IDES was seeing in their data. He pointed to a 20 percent reduction in the number of first-time unemployment claims the agency processed from last year. He also added that layoffs are also happening at the pre-recession rate. He explained that the amount of layoffs in April 2014 was similar to the rate in January 2006.

"We know the economy is improving and we also know that improvement has yet to hit every doorstep," Rivara said.

Going forward economists will be looking at what happens this summer.

He added that the U.S. has seen a pause in economic expansion over the last three years during the summer.

"If you look at these long term trends that show more people working and show the job growth, it also shows a little bit of pause in the summer."

Another pause in job growth could indicate how strong the job market is for the rest of the year and whether the growth continues, he said.

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