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Lina works as the makeup artist at the “Hair Spa” salon. (Photo by Laura Skindaraite)

Despite Low State Unemployment Rates, Many Struggle to Find Jobs

By Laura Skindaraite, Veronica Stanoulov and Madelyn Rose

Posted: Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018

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

Unemployment in Illinois has been steadily decreasing since it peaked at 11.3 percent nine years, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. From 2015 to 2016, the employment rate grew 0.53 percent, according to the Data USA: Illinois.

According to the Google Public Data Explorer, in March 2010, the unemployment rate in Illinois was 11.3 percent, but by June 2018 it dropped to 4.3 percent. U.S. unemployment was 10 percent in February 2010. This year, it was 4 percent in June.

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.

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, to $59,196 in 2016.

In October, the United States unemployment rate was at an extreme low at 3 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.

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," Rose said. "I signed up for online job recruiters, but I did not get anything from them. I was also on LinkedIn.” 

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.

“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 that 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.

“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," Dimitru said. "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.” 

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."

Beyond the statistics, workers and experts say unemployment often leads to mental problems and a feeling of unfulfillment.

“I felt really bad and was depressed because I couldn’t provide for my family,” Hernandez said. “I would get some small jobs, helping out our neighbors or friends fixing their cars or just helping around the house but it still wasn’t the same as actually having a job.”

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