Unemployment report shows signs of recovery

February 5, 2010 2:27:05 PM PST
An unemployment report published Friday shows just how dire the job crisis remains The government now estimates $8.4 million jobs vanished in the recession. And it will take three to four years for the job market to return to anything close to normal.

The United States is seeing record levels of productivity. That may also delay the more fulltime hires. An employer will first look at ways to do more with who they have before looking to add employees. Recovering the jobs the economy lost before the recession may be years away, but there are signs of recovery.

On Friday afternoon, there was evidence that the jobs marketing is picking up as well with a lower unemployment rate -- 9.7 percent nationally.

"It is generally a good, a positive thing that the unemployment rate is going down but it's such a small number and it's such a small measure, it's really difficult to know what it means yet," said Rick Cobbs, outplacement and employment expert, Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Cobbs says the unemployment rate doesn't account for job seekers who have given up looking for work. He encourages job seekers not to give up.

"Unemployment and employment is always 100 percent. If you're working, you're 100 percent employed and if you're not working you're 100 percent unemployed. You don't have to change the economic picture for Illinois, you just have to find a job for yourself," said Cobbs.

At the Career Transitions Center (CTC) of Chicago, the numbers of job seekers looking for help hasn't waned.

CTC estimates the job search now take 8 to 12 months. Prior to the recession, the searches averaged between 3 and 6 months.

"It's taking a while for employers to make their hiring decisions I've seen a lot of trends of people doing group interviews folks will go in for interviews they may be interviewing with a committee of five or six people," said Anita Jenke, executive director, CTC.

Jenke says finding work is still a full time job. She sees signs of improvement.

"Between Christmas and now we've seen close to 10 clients get jobs which considering that was the holiday period I thought that was quite good we're seeing more client get calls for interviews that does seem to be picking up," said Jenke.

The numbers of layoffs are also declining. They went down steadily last year. The latest unemployment rate for Illinois will be released March 9.