* The state’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.5 percent last month. That’s the third straight month of falling numbers. Good news, right?
While the Census numbers are lagging, there’s still much cause for concern…
But a new census report also released today said that Cook County gained only 27,500 jobs, an increase of 1.1 percent, between December 2012 and December 2013, which was the smallest increase among the 10 largest counties [in the nation].
By comparison, statewide employment was up 1.0 percent during that time and jobs grew 1.8 percent nationwide.
Illinois also had two counties with the biggest job losses in percentage terms last year. Downstate St. Clair County lost 3.1 percent of its jobs and Peoria County lost 2.2 percent, tied with a county in New York for the second-worst job loss in the nation.
* And it that’s not enough…
Average weekly wages in Cook County declined 1.0 percent to $1,174 over the same period, while McHenry County wages were down 8.8 percent, the largest drop in Illinois and nearly the largest drop in the nation.
Much of the decline came in manufacturing, where McHenry County average weekly wages were down 30.7 percent to $1,107, according to census data. The county lost 388 manufacturing jobs last year with the closure of several plants, or about 1.4 percent of its factory workforce, said Julie Courtney, director of the McHenry County Workforce Network, which administers job training programs.