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Rose colored glasses

Friday, Apr 19, 2013

* The Department of Employment Security has been trying very hard to put the best spin on Illinois’ economic picture for months. Let’s start with IDES’ press release announcing the September, 2012 jobs report, which was not great compared to the national numbers, but still good for Illinois…

Illinois Adds 13,800 Jobs and Rate Falls to 8.8 Percent
Rate Drops for 10th time in 13 Months

CHICAGO – Illinois added +13,800 jobs in September and the unemployment rate fell for the 10th time in the past 13 months to reach 8.8 percent, according to preliminary data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). The data is seasonally adjusted.

“Today’s news is encouraging because it reinforces the trend of continued job growth,” IDES Director Jay Rowell said. “What we don’t know is how federal decisions regarding the fiscal cliff will impact Illinois’ economy.”

* The unemployment rate stopped falling in October of last year, but IDES trumpeted the new jobs added…

Illinois Adds 4,800 Jobs and Rate Holds at 8.8 Percent

CHICAGO – Illinois added +4,800 jobs in October and the unemployment rate held at 8.8 percent for the second consecutive month, according to preliminary data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). The data is seasonally adjusted. One year ago, the October unemployment rate was 10 percent.

“Job growth and an unemployment rate significantly lower than one year ago shows steady economic progress,” IDES Director Jay Rowell said. “Our eyes now turn toward Congress. Decisions must be made regarding the fiscal cliff so that Illinois’ economy can continue to recover.”

* November’s unemployment rate clicked back down again…

Illinois Adds 16,400 Jobs and Rate Falls to 8.7 Percent
November Monthly Job Gain Largest of the Year

CHICAGO – Illinois added +16,400 jobs in November and the unemployment rate fell to 8.7 percent, according to preliminary data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). The data is seasonally adjusted. One year ago, the November unemployment rate was 9.8 percent.

“November’s job growth is encouraging because it reinforces the trend of positive economic momentum,” IDES Director Jay Rowell said “The most immediate threat to that momentum is the fiscal cliff. If Congress does not work together to craft a solution, our economic progress will slow and we will risk another recession.”

* December’s unemployment rate held steady, despite a payroll decrease of 7,600. But it was a good month, according to IDES…

December Unemployment Unchanged at 8.7 Percent
Private Sector Job Growth Up 167,000 During the Recovery

CHICAGO – The December 2012 unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.7 percent, according to preliminary data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). The data is seasonally adjusted. One year ago, the December rate was 9.7 percent. Total payrolls decreased -7,600 in December 2012, nearly one-third of which were temporary layoffs with return-to-work dates in January, 2013.

“Illinois’ long-term trend is that of moderate growth punctuated by monthly up-and-down movement in the unemployment rate and the number of people working,” IDES Director Jay Rowell said. “This positive trend still is threatened by Congress and its continuing deliberations on the debt ceiling and the fiscal cliff.”

* The unemployment rate rose in January, but that was good news because more people were returning to their job searches, IDES told us…

January Unemployment Rate at 9.0 Percent
Private Sector Growth Up 222,100 During Recovery

CHICAGO – More people resuming their job search and entering the workforce pushed the January 2013 unemployment rate to 9.0 percent, according to preliminary data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). The data is seasonally adjusted. One year ago, the rate was 9.1 percent. Employers added 7,100 jobs in January 2013.

“An economic recovery naturally includes monthly up-and-down movement in the unemployment rate as individuals suspend and renew their job search,” IDES Director Jay Rowell said. “As cuts from sequestration are implemented during the next few months, we will have a better idea on how federal fiscal policy will impact Illinois.”

* The unemployment rate zoomed up to 9.5 percent in February, but that was no big deal either because the state’s employers added thousands of jobs…

Illinois Adds 12,400 Jobs in February
Job Growth Encourages More People to Look for Work

CHICAGO – Illinois added 12,400 jobs in February, continuing a three-year pattern of job growth that has intensified in the past seven months. Job growth has encouraged more people to look for work, especially those who gave up during the recession. Their re-entry into the labor force pushed the February unemployment rate to 9.5 percent, according to preliminary data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). Data is seasonally adjusted.

“This is the counter-intuitive part of an economic recovery. If job creation is picking up, how can unemployment be picking up as well?” IDES Director Jay Rowell said. “Job growth gives workers who previously gave up their job search hope that they, too, will be hired. As such, they re-energize their work search, jump back into the labor force and push up the unemployment rate.”

* March had more bad news, wiping out all of February’s job gains plus most of January’s. And the unemployment rate held steady. No matter, we’re better off than we were last year…

March Unemployment Rate Holds at 9.5 Percent
Job Growth Up Over Year Yet Down Over Month

CHICAGO – The March unemployment rate was 9.5 percent, unchanged from February, according to preliminary data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). As expected, Illinois recorded -17,800 fewer jobs compared to February even as it added +36,600 over March 2012. The data is seasonally adjusted.

“Illinois employers were expected to report fewer positions in March. Economic uncertainty nationally and abroad dampened our country’s job growth. When that happens, Illinois’ share tends to be a negative number,” IDES Director Jay Rowell said. “Monthly snapshots capture a moment in time. When those moments are evaluated together, we see progress away from a global recession and through a stubborn economic growth cycle marked by volatile swings in monthly data here and across our country.”

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


22 Comments
  1. - WOW - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 11:48 am:

    What? The Quinn admin is misleading us, no way. LOL


  2. - Responsa - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 11:49 am:

    sell the chump a lump


  3. - OneMan - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 11:53 am:

    On the plus side IDES has hired an additional press aid, that kid for NIU who when NIU only scored 4 points in the first half of a basketball game instead led with NIU holds opponent to fewest points all season…


  4. - Norseman - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 11:54 am:

    CMS PIOs doing their best to make Lemonade out of Lemons.


  5. - RNUG - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 12:05 pm:

    liars, damn liars, and statisticians …

    Seriously, back in the day when I did track the IL unemployment numbers, the big driver was manufacturing. The big companies have cut back and continue to cut back. Think it wa slast week that both Decatur and Peoria got hit big time. Those jobs ain’t coming back.

    The other big economic driver was construction, especially housing … and that hasn’t really recovered.

    These days the IL economy has shifted to more of a service economy but that doesn’t do much for the numbers. More and more companies are convincing their customers that “self serve” is the way to go. Just pay attention as you go through your day. Pump your own gas. Use an ATM. Just a few items so you hit the self checkout at the grocery store. Look up the parts yourself in the catalogs in the auto parts store. Even gambling now is self service at a machine. You get the idea. All those activities used to be a job for someone. The compoanies are dojing more business but they aren’t hiring because they found a source of ‘free’ labor - us!

    It’s pretty much become a self-fulfilling result. The more money that gets diverted to paying unemployment, food stamps, past debt, etc., the less money government has to spend on big infrastructure constrution projects that might stimulate the economy in a positive fashion.

    Maybe I’m just in a pessimistic mode today, but I don’t see any end to the downward spiral … especially in IL.


  6. - HaroldVK - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 12:06 pm:

    Next month I expect that they will finally come clean and say “After year’s of analysis, this month’s numbers show that the people of Illinois are just not very good at governing ourselves. If there is a benevolent dictator or maybe a philosopher king that would like to give it a try, he/she should give us a call.”


  7. - HaroldVK - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 12:09 pm:

    Typo in the last post — “years” plural was intended. I may have started talking about a year’s worth of events and then edited part of it but forget to change that word. At least that’s my story. I’m not just another commenter who can’t distinguish plural from possessive. I can distinguish, but not type, the difference.


  8. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 12:14 pm:

    Who knew that “Baghdad Bob” found a job in Illinois?


  9. - Juvenal - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 12:26 pm:

    IDES is in a Catch-22. They are correct, monthly ups and downs in jobs numbers are not what matters, it is the trend line. And the “unemployment rate” IS a misleading number.

    At the same time, the feds and the state release monthly data, so you have to issue a press release that says something.

    Catch-22.

    My mom would be proud of them: “Find something nice to say about everybody.”


  10. - Meaningless - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 12:27 pm:

    RNUG brought up some really good points about unemployment stats, but in my opinion, this would also offer a good argument for our politicians to update our sales tax to include more services or self services. I don’t think our politicians have quite figured this out yet, but the additional revenue could go along way towards helping our state’s overall financial condition.


  11. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 1:17 pm:

    The unemployment rate gives me a headache.

    When it goes down, some say it’s because people gave up looking. When it goes up, some say it’s because people are getting back in the market.

    You don’t have to be a weathermen to see which way the wind blows in my usual happy hunting grounds.

    A few years ago, there were cranes all over the city and the bars, lunch spots and trains were packed with ironworkers, electricians, etc.

    These days, I don’t see any building going on downtown.

    Things are still pretty good up on the North Shore corporate campuses, though. Their trains, shuttle bugs and parking lots are packed. Good work up there, if you can get it.


  12. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 1:35 pm:

    Interesting by-county map:

    http://www.ides.illinois.gov/custom/library/statistic/LAUS/countymap.pdf

    Data at a glance:

    http://www.bls.gov/eag/eag.il.htm#eag_il.f.1

    Feb March

    6,639.7 6,611.9 Civilian Workforce

    6,012.2 5,982.7 Employed


  13. - Just Me - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 1:36 pm:

    Yup, our State’s employment situation is so awesome that we can easily raise taxes on job creators right now without any problem.


  14. - reformer - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 1:48 pm:

    Just me
    Before the temp income tax hike in 2011, IL had the lowest income tax rate of any of the 41 states with an income tax. IL still had a higher unemployment rate than average.


  15. - Robo - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 1:49 pm:

    I guess Illinois is a red state after all!


  16. - George Orwell - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 2:13 pm:

    Now that’s some serious spin doctoring gov speak…worthy of a shout out from yours truly.


  17. - Juvenal - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 2:18 pm:

    @wordslinger -

    Cranes and commercial construction are a lagging ecomic indicator, not a leading economic indicator.

    Folks don’t start building new buildings until the economy gets a full head of steam.

    If you want to know how the economy is doing and you’re looking for hard data, try retail sales, especially home appliances.


  18. - Colossus - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 2:24 pm:

    AA- of all placed, I did not expect Baghdad Bob to pop up here. Thank you.


  19. - Caveman - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 2:33 pm:

    @ reformer- Individual income taxes are only one factor in a states effective tax rate. Don’t forget corporate taxes, sales taxes, real estate taxes and unemployment insurance taxes. When you combine those Illinois ranks 29th in the nation. We are 47th in Corporate taxes.
    http://taxfoundation.org/article/2013-state-business-tax-climate-index


  20. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 2:45 pm:

    Caveman,

    Don’t forget to add workers compensation burden and regulatory environment to your list!


  21. - Just Me - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 2:56 pm:

    @Reformer: so Illinois employment situation is great. I guess I missed that memo. (Oh wait, no, Pat Quinn gave it to me!)


  22. - Just The Way It Is One - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 4:34 pm:

    Boy, that Mr. Rowell and/or whatever member of his staff write those press releases could EASily pick up some part-time gigs as DJs, ‘cuz they sure know how to “spin” things! The sad, cruel reality is that no matter how much somebody is SMILING when they’re delivering tough news that’s hard to swallow, it’s still bad news, and it IS painful to clearly note that in 3 measly months Illinois Unemployment rate has INcreased 8/10 of a percent…!

    And despite any tunes on in the background being spun by some part-time DJs, pretty much the most honest reaction of Illinois citizens would have to fall AT LEAST somewhere between “Dang it!” and “OUCH!”


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