Despite the Low Unemployment Rates Illinois Residents Struggle to Find Jobs

By Laura Skindaraite, Veronica Stanoulov and Madelyn Rose


“Smilga Restaurant” workers are getting ready for the birthday party
Photo by Laura Skindaraite

Despite the declining unemployment rate in Illinois, people are still struggling to find a job, according to an analysis of employment data.

Unemployment in Illinois has been steadily declining over the past eight years according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. From 2015 to 2016, the employment rate grew .53 percent according to the Data USA: Illinois.

Unemployment_Rate_Created_with_Datawrapper_Unemployment Rate in Illinois

According to the Google Public Data Explorer, in March 2010, the unemployment rate in Illinois was 11.1 percent and this year June it dropped to 4.3 percent. Comparing it with the overall unemployment rate in the United States, in February 2010 it was 10 percent and this year June it was 4.0 percent.

Martin Rose was working as a director and educator in respiratory at Community Nursing Rehab in Naperville. He, along with many others, struggled with unemployment as a company failed to bring in income. In June of 2018, 13 employees were left jobless.

“They were laying people off because they closed the unit and sold the building because the current owner was not earning enough profits from the facility I worked at,” Rose said.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010, the unemployment rate reached the highest point of the decade-9.8 percent. In August 2018, it dropped to 3.9 percent which was the lowest unemployment rate of the decade.

FInal Project Screengrab

U.S Unemployment Rates

While the unemployment rate as a whole has been decreasing for the United States, people in smaller towns are still struggling to find a job.

“Unemployment really will never go away and every American should be prepared for it,” Rose said. ”Because it goes in cycles and the 2007-09 recession was so effective everybody has to be aware of it.”

Overall, the median income of Illinois residents is growing. According to Census Explorer the median income of a household grew 6.7 percent in seven years. The median income grew from $55,222 in 2009 to $59,196 in 2016.

In October, the United States unemployment rate was at an extreme low at 3.0 percent. By acknowledging the factors that affected the increase in unemployment and taking the necessary steps to take preventative measures, this would help individuals, the government, and the overall health of the nation as a whole.

Screen Shot 2018-12-06 at 8.25.11 AMUnemployment Map of U.S.

The unemployment rates have been constantly fluctuating every year. They usually do not stay constant for too long. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate fluctuates on a local, state, and nationwide level.

There are many factors that affect the unemployment rates, such as the government and the economy.

“I was laid off for quite some time. I searched for a new job constantly. I signed up for online job recruiters, but I did not get anything from them. I was also on LinkedIn,” Rose said.

There are many different resources people use in order to find a job. Many individuals use online employment-oriented service or approach to the job agencies. These employment services assist in linking employers with potential applicants.


Lina is working as the makeup artist at the “Hair Spa” salon
Photo by Laura Skindaraite

“I personally get about ten job applications every day but as a whole, we distribute the number of people that reach out to us every day,” said Nick Dimitru who works at SNI Companies, a staffing agency that aids individuals with job searches.

The population in Illinois is decreasing. According to the U.S. Census, the estimated population in 2017 was at 12,802,023. World Population Review states that the total population of Illinois in 2018 is 12,768,320

“I have not noticed any trends of when there is a higher amount of people looking for jobs since I have not been with the company for too long but my co-workers have informed me that the market and politics do play a role in the number of people seeking work,” Dimitru said.

Even after approaching the SNI Companies, a job agency the helps people find employment opportunities, people are not guaranteed to get a job because an agency has to follow the requirements from the employers, such as education, experience, and availability of the employee.

ACS Job Fair, USAG Humphreys
Photo from Creative Commons

“Most jobs are either looking for a few years of experience in that field, a certain level of education or they have tight restrictions that limit the eligible amount of applicants. Some employers require a certain amount of hours worked, or some are only looking for seasonal or contract employees. The market and government put a tight strain on those seeking jobs,” Dimitru said.

However, despite being well qualified, even skilled workers with years of experience are struggling to find a job.

“You would think that mechanics are needed because everyone needs their car fixed, right? I thought so too, mechanics actually have a low unemployment rate but I just couldn’t find a job, it was horrible,” said Jose Hernandez, a skilled mechanic who lost his job in May 2016 and was unemployed for a year.

“I wasn’t very worried about it because I didn’t think it would be hard for me to find a new job. I was applying for different companies and asking people around if they know anyone hiring. I got some calls back but at the end of the day, I still didn’t have a job,” Hernandez said.

Continue reading “Despite the Low Unemployment Rates Illinois Residents Struggle to Find Jobs”


The Top Three Fastest Growing Cities In Illinois

Chris Kolmar’s article discusses the fastest growing cities in Illinois for 2018. The article rated 334 cities in Illinois that has a population over 5,000 residents.

As can be seen, Sumner Illinois was ranked as number one with the population growth rate of 156.75 percent. Sumner’s population in 2010 was 1,984 and in 2016 it reached 5,094. The timelapse created using Google Earth Engine shows Sumner’s growth from 1984 to 2016.


Photo: Wikipedia Commons

The second city with the fastest population growth in Illinois is Pingree Grove. The total population of the city in 2010 was 3,780 and it grew to 5,983 residents in 2016. The growth rate is 58.28 percent. Here is a timelapse showing the growth of Pingree Grove, IL.


Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Finally, the third fastest growing city in Illinois is Hillsboro. The population of the city went from 5,382 in 2010 to 7,287 in 2016 with the total population growth of 35.4 percent. Here is a timelapse showing the changes in the city.


Photo: Wikipedia Commons

A growing population usually means economic growth and medical and industrial innovation. On the other hand, it had some disadvantages as property shortage and traffic congestion. Overall, it is important to research the population changes in a city when planning on moving or opening a business there.






NFL Player Salaries in 2018 Top 20

The graphic represents salaries of the most expensive NFL players in 2018. As can be seen, Kirk Cousins has the highest salary by making $22,500,000 this year. He makes 23.81 percent more than Ezekiel Ansah and Demarcus Lawrence who have the second/third highest salaries in 2018.

Even though Kirk Cousins has the highest salary he is only 94th on this year’s Best NFL Players Top 100 list. NFL reporter Nick Shook states that Cousins’ 24-pace drop was influenced by the injury that made him watch his team miss the playoffs. However, statistics tell that he is still a great player because of his 27 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and 4,093-yards passing.

The top five players on NFL Top 100 Players of 2018 List are Tom Brady, Antonio Brown, Carson Went, Julio Jones, and Le’Veon Bell. However, none of them make the Highest NFL Players salary in 2018 Top 20 List. The best NFL player Tom Brady makes $4 million and is 202nd on the NFL 2018 Player Salary List. He makes 82.2 % less than Kirk Cousin who is number one on the list. Overall, that means that being the best player does not always mean making the most money.


Photo: Wikipedia Commons




Chicago Fighting Food Deserts

By Eris Spicer, Laura Skindaraite, and Matt Byrdak on December 5, 2017

After an array of turkey, stuffing and gravy this Thanksgiving, many people ponder their gratitude for the food we are able to provide ourselves with every day.

But not everyone in Chicago has that luxury. According to Feeding America’s map of food insecurity in Illinois, there are over 600,000 food insecure people in Cook County. The Greater Chicago Food Depository serves 812,000 people in Cook County alone each year, meaning one out of every six people in the community are turning to programs and services for food.

“There is enough food, right this minute, to feed all the hungry people in Chicago and elsewhere,” Debbie Hillman at the Food + Farms + Democracy program in Chicago states, “it’s when people don’t have the money to get it. So, it’s more a problem of money than food. And it’s also in the neighborhood, because stores aren’t close to people”.

Continue reading “Chicago Fighting Food Deserts”

History of the World Cup


The World Cup is the most widely followed sporting event in the world. Check out the time capsule of the most important dates and events which make it so popular.



                                                                                                                                                                                        Photo: Wikipedia Commons