Emanuel ecstatic over report on city job growth

July 18, 2012 3:29:54 PM PDT
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he's ecstatic about a report saying the city leads the nation in job creation and reducing unemployment.

The report is from the University of Chicago.

Emanuel sat down for a one-on-one interview Wednesday with ABC7 political reporter Charles Thomas.

The mayor was more than willing to talk about the very positive report, but the report also confirmed that Chicago's jobs story is truly a tale of two cities.

"I went and looked at all the biggest cities, and it's been quite a year for Chicago," said University of Chicago economist Austan Goolsbee.

University of Chicago Economist Austan Goolsbee's seven pages of good news for Chicago compared labor department data for big american cities from the latest available 12 month period:

"Our unemployment rate from May of '11 to May of '12, which is the latest year of the data, fell the most of all the major cities in the country," said Goolsbee.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was inaugurated in May 2011, called the reported 28,000 new jobs created since his inauguration an affirmation of his efforts since taking office.

"You have to go get these jobs. You have to go get the companies to move here, open up shop," said Emanuel. "We don't create jobs. We create the environment for the private sector to create jobs."

The report said Chicago was second worst in the country, after Los Angeles, for job creation between 2008 and last year. It did not specify which sectors of the economy were leading the jobs recovery or where in the city the hiring is happening.

"It only applies to certain neighborhoods. Not citywide," said Englewood resident Marlon Williams.

In high-unemployment, crime-ridden Englewood on the South Side, residents see little evidence of a jobs boom.

"Like, look at it. There's a lot of people that's walking [on the street] that could be earning paychecks," said Timothy Polen, who is unemployed.

"All this robbin', selling drugs all this wouldn't happen if we had more jobs out here," said Paul King, also unemployed.

Emanuel said Chicago will use an improved City Colleges system to prepare the chronically unemployed for work.

"Their city is on the move creating the opportunity," said Emanuel. "Now, we gotta make sure part of that opportunity is their skills are ready for the economy of tomorrow."

As White House chief of staff, Emanuel worked with Goolsbee, who was chairman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers. Goolsbee insisted that the glowing report on Emanuel's job creation effort was not influenced by politics.

"Look, I admit I live in Chicago, I have a bias for the city... and I do like the mayor," said Goolsbee. "This is not commissioned by the mayor. I'm an economist. This is what I do."

While pleased with the report, the mayor said he was not satisfied.

In fact, he announced Wednesday the McGladrey consulting company will move its corporate headquarters to Chicago adding 300-500 jobs here in the next year.

It would appear the folks I talked to Wednesday in Englewood would not qualify for any of those positions.


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