Illinois unemployment rate goes up

March 13, 2009 3:30:49 PM PDT
The unemployment rate has risen in all 12 of the state's metropolitan areas and is at the highest level since the early 1990's. Across the state, the employment rate stands at 7.9 percent.

The rate is even higher in the Chicago metropolitan area and it shows no signs of easing.

The job search is wearing on job seekers. These numbers don't help. But there are places people are finding some hope.

Each day 400 to 500 people come to a Chicago Workforce Center in Pilsen for help. There they can apply for unemployment benefits and get help looking for work.

"I have five to 10 people working on my behalf to get a job. A humbling and humiliating experience has turned into something really rich just by coming here," said Kati Reynolds, job seeker.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security released its most recent numbers for January:

  • In the Lake County/Kenosha area unemployment is 9 percent
  • In the Chicago/Naperville/Joliet area unemployment is 8.2 percent
  • Around Kankakee/Bradley unemployment is 11.6 percent
  • The department can't predict the trend for February or March, but the department's spokesman says we can look at history for an idea of what's to come.

    "Given that Illinois has been at or above the national average I see no reason to believe that that trend will not continue," said Marta Cerda, Chicago Workforce Development Centers director.

    Staffers of the center say since December they've seen a 30 percent increase in people coming there for support.

    "We are seeing an increase in the number of people who have been unemployed for months now. So they are frustrated and don't know what to do," said Cerda.

    Kenneth Brewer is looking for work as a cook. He's finding fewer places hiring and has a message to the penny pinchers.

    "Stop bringing a sack lunch and go out to some of these restaurants and maybe I'll get a job," said Brewer.

    The Illinois Workforce Development Center is sponsored by the Illinois WorkNet Center: