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Illinois unemployment rate tops 10 percent even as 30,000 new jobs are added

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* The explanation makes some sense, but that rate increase will rightly make for scary headlines

Unemployment in Illinois rose in October for a sixth straight month, inching up to 10.1%, even as the state added 30,000 jobs, the Illinois Department of Employment Security said today.

The statewide jobless rate was 10% in September, the first time it reached double digits since August 2010.

The unemployment rate in Illinois is now more than a full percentage point above the national rate, which slipped to 9% last month, suggesting that the state’s recovery from the Great Recession is lagging much of the country. The U.S. rate has hovered between 9% and 9.2% since April.

The Illinois agency said the simultaneous increase in jobs and the unemployment rate could suggest that more residents feel optimistic about finding work and a re-energizing their job search, which is reflected in a higher unemployment rate.

As in most past months, “government” led all job loss categories, with 600 terminations. Governments in Illinois shed 10,500 jobs in the last year. That’s three times more than the second place finisher, “Information” employment.

* Meanwhile, Ohio’s governor claims he made a “stunning” presentation to Sears about relocating its headquarters from Illinois

Gov. John Kasich said yesterday that he spoke with Louis D’Ambrosio, chief executive officer of Sears Holdings Corp., on Wednesday in an ongoing attempt to lure the Sears headquarters from Illinois to Columbus.

Although Kasich reiterated that he doubts Sears will leave suburban Chicago, he has learned that Ohio, Texas and Illinois are the three finalists in the running to land Sears. The company had received proposals from 19 states.

“You know what he told me?” Kasich said, referring to D’Ambrosio. “He said ‘the presentation that your folks have made for us has been stunning. They have been so good, and so creative, and so ahead of the curve that it’s down to three (states).’ ”

* And Illinois wants a new Cat plant

llinois is trying to persuade Caterpillar Inc., the world’s largest construction and mining- equipment maker, that its home state is the best location to build a factory that will employ more than 1,000 people.

“We have reached out to them and we will continue our discussions,” Marcelyn Love, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, said Nov. 15 in a telephone interview. “We want to continue our relationship with them as well as to strengthen the Illinois economy.”

* OK, this is bizarre. reports that Russian hackers destroyed a CWLP water pump

Hackers gained remote access into the control system of the city water utility in Springfield, Illinois, last week and destroyed a pump, according to a report released by a state fusion center and obtained by a security expert.

The hackers were discovered on Nov. 8 when a water district employee noticed problems in the city’s Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA). The system kept turning on and off, resulting in the burnout of a water pump.

Forensic evidence indicates that the hackers may have been in the system as early as September, according to the “Public Water District Cyber Intrusion” report, released by the Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center on November 10.

But CWLP flatly denies the story

“CWLP has not had any breach of its Water or Electric Department Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems,” the utility said in a statement issued this morning.

* Again, this is why the General Assembly should’ve given video gaming to the Lottery instead of the gaming board

To pull off video gaming, [Illinois Gaming Board Chairman Aaron Jaffe] said the board will have to hire many more investigators to handle licensing for all the people involved, from machine manufacturers and distributors to the establishments where the terminals would be located to repair people.

The Lottery already has a statewide network that video gaming could use, and it seems to work fine.

* The Sun-Times editorialized this week in favor of Chairman Jaffee’s renomination, and the SJ-R published a list of failed gaming expansion proposals since 1997

*1997: 14 new casino licenses, including two licenses for Chicago that would be city-owned; slot machines at racetracks and dockside gambling. Allowing casinos to dock instead of taking gambling cruises eventually became law.

* 1999: Three new riverboat casinos would be authorized to operate anywhere in the state, including Cook County, dockside gambling.

* 2003: Separate proposals would allow slots at racetracks; increase the number of gaming positions at current casinos; create casinos for Chicago and the south suburbs; legalize 47,000 video poker machines.

* 2005: Various proposals included increasing the number of gaming positions at casinos; giving Chicago a casino, authorizing two other casinos in the suburbs, allowing slot machines at racetracks, legalizing video poker

* 2008: To pay for a capital plan, Gov. Rod Blagojevich proposed three new casino licenses, including one in Chicago; selling the then-unused 10th license; allowing existing casinos to expand; and allowing slot machines at the tracks; and leasing the state lottery.

* And a national search could begin soon to replace Arlene Juracek at the Illinois Power Agency

Arlene Juracek will remain acting director of the Illinois Power Agency for now, but the state Executive Ethics Commission is expected to conduct a nationwide job search that could lead to replacing the retired Exelon executive whose appointment last month by Governor Pat Quinn has stirred controversy.

Quinn, a Democrat, tapped Juracek to replace Mark Pruitt, who had been the IPA’s only director since its inception in 2008. Though tiny, the agency wields disproportionate clout through its procurement of power for the state’s two largest electric utilities — Commonwealth Edison, an Exelon subsidiary, and Ameren Illinois.

Indeed, Juracek’s longtime association with Exelon raised the eyebrows of some consumer advocates who questioned whether her selection posed a potential conflict of interest. Juracek’s appointment has yet to be confirmed by the Democrat-controlled Illinois Senate.

The General Assembly recently stripped Quinn of control over the IPA, placing the agency in the hands of the non-partisan ethics commission.

Last week, the House of Representatives, where Democrats also hold a majority, passed amended legislation that limits acting IPA directors to 60-day terms. The measure has not been approved by the Senate, however.

Chad Fornoff, executive director of the nine-member commission, said in a Monday interview that Juracek will continue in her current IPA capacity for the foreseeable future. “Unless and until the commission rescinds her appointment, she’s in the job,” he said.

But Fornoff acknowledged commission members appear interested in mounting a broad search for a permanent IPA director.

* Related and a roundup…

* ADDED: Occupy Chicago Holds Bread Line To Protest Tax Breaks for CME, other corporations

* Cities caught in tax break conundrum

* Business tax breaks won’t help farmers

* Chicago-area coal plant to shut down earlier than expected - State Line Power Station to close by March instead of 2014

* Waiting for Emanuel on Pension Overhaul: “At this point, we have not had a lot of engagement from the mayor, so I think that’s good,” Cross told the Chicago News Cooperative.

* Emanuel dumps Daley nephew, 2 others, from sports stadium board

* Jim Reilly to stay on as McPier’s chief — maybe for quite a while

* Quinn eyes Alderman Joe Moore for IEPA spot

* Smart meter foes file to put issue to voters

* Illinois’ lousy financial literacy

* Understanding Illinois’ Smart Grid and Distributed Generation

* Grant Thornton to step up Chicago hiring 40% next year

* Mulch company chooses Illinois over Missouri to consolidate

* Businesses penalized for state unemployment insurance debt: But relief for employers in Illinois won’t come until the state actually issues the bond, probably sometime in 2012. So for companies in Illinois, just as in the other 19 other states facing a similar predicament, higher taxes will kick in next year whether the state passes legislation or not. The federal law governing unemployment loans to states has an automatic repayment process for those that fail to pay back their loans within a certain time. The most recent deadline was November 10.

* Sequestration project at ADM showing early success

* Illinois Coal Debacle: Will Gov. Quinn Allow This Reckless Strip Mine to Jeopardize a Small Town’s Drinking Water?

* In defense of slots at the racetracks

* Sears’ corporate rating cut by S&P

posted by Rich Miller
Friday, Nov 18, 11 @ 1:50 pm


  1. There is no way Caterpillar is going to build a new manufacturing plant in Illinois. They just closed their Mossville plant! They are building plants in the south east which has better job creating conditions and no union headaches.

    Comment by Its Just Me Friday, Nov 18, 11 @ 1:57 pm

  2. ===They just closed their Mossville plant! ===

    The layoffs at Cat’s on-highway truck engine plant happened almost three years ago, during a huge economic meltdown.

    You’ve claimed this “just happened” before. Do it again, and you’ll be blocked.

    Comment by Rich Miller Friday, Nov 18, 11 @ 2:05 pm

  3. Didn’t the Gaming Board’s budget balloon in recent years to accomodate all of Jaffe’s hiring requests for the video gaming system he’s supposed to oversee?
    When will he stop complaining and start doing something?
    He appears to have forgotten that he not in the General Assembly anymore.

    Comment by Michelle Flaherty Friday, Nov 18, 11 @ 2:06 pm

  4. 10% unemployment. With leadership like Quinn and the GA I would bet on it rising instead of falling.

    Comment by Fed up Friday, Nov 18, 11 @ 2:13 pm

  5. I don’t know anything about the mossville plant but the chances of Illinois getting a new plant are slim with the workers comp laws and tax problems the state has. Would love to see new investment but Illinois seems to be playing defense trying to keep jobs and companies from leaving not a good position to be in for the future.

    Comment by Fed up Friday, Nov 18, 11 @ 2:17 pm

  6. The pump was not at CWLP. That’s not the only water supply that may have a Springfield address.

    Comment by Anon Friday, Nov 18, 11 @ 2:20 pm

  7. How many government jobs have been lost because of the delayed payments to local governments and schools? How many social service agencies and small businesses have laid off workers due to the unpaid bills?

    Maybe the Republican’s should start looking at an obvious jobs bill aka debt restructuring plan.

    I still can’t believe the “party of business,” is leaving so many businesses in this state high in dry when it comes to payment.

    Comment by Ahoy Friday, Nov 18, 11 @ 2:26 pm

  8. –llinois is trying to persuade Caterpillar Inc., the world’s largest construction and mining- equipment maker, that its home state is the best location to build a factory that will employ more than 1,000 people.–

    It’s great, as the linked story notes, that CAT is expanding its Illinois tractor plants.

    But the state shouldn’t set itself up for disappointment on this particular excavator work. CAT has specifically said in recent stories that port access, for export to Europe, is very important for this particular line.

    Comment by wordslinger Friday, Nov 18, 11 @ 2:33 pm

  9. You can’t outsource some of the start-up investigations? Really?

    But you are right Rich, having the lottery do it would have taken the machine owner concept out of it in terms of a revenue cut and let the state and the locals get more of the revenue

    Comment by OneMan Friday, Nov 18, 11 @ 2:34 pm

  10. ===CAT has specifically said in recent stories that port access===

    Well, we do have plenty of available spots on the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan.

    Agreed that it’s a longshot, but we should take it.

    Comment by Rich Miller Friday, Nov 18, 11 @ 2:37 pm

  11. Quinn will have to decide whether or not he wants Illinois in the horse breeding business. In addition to the revenue stream brought in by expanded gaming, tens of thousands of agricultural jobs are at stake here, and he holds the reins.

    Comment by Cincinnatus Friday, Nov 18, 11 @ 2:40 pm

  12. Considering that Caterpillar started in 1925, I think three years ago can still be considered a recent event.

    Comment by Just Me Friday, Nov 18, 11 @ 3:19 pm

  13. IDES’ analysis of the job stats is correct. More people reentering the job market is a good thing.

    It’s also worth noting that the midwest in general and
    Illinois in particular ALWAYS lag behind the rest of the country in job losses and job recovery.

    Recessions and recoveries start on the East and West coasts. Just like drug and fashion trends.

    Comment by Yellow Dog Democrat Friday, Nov 18, 11 @ 3:49 pm

  14. Adding, while three years is an eternity in politics, to a major corporation three years is just the blink of an eye. One of the reasons businesses hate it when governments change the rules of the game, in their opinion, so frequently.

    Comment by Just Me Friday, Nov 18, 11 @ 4:08 pm

  15. ====to a major corporation three years is just the blink of an eye===

    Actually, to a public corporation, three years is twelve quarters.

    Comment by Rich Miller Friday, Nov 18, 11 @ 4:11 pm

  16. Jobs data doesn’t tell us nearly as much as employment data.

    If the unemployed are the people getting those jobs (e.g., if those net jobs go to those already employed who are taking on a second or third job), of course the unemployment rate will go up.

    The number of employed Illinoisans has been on a downward spiral since January, despite IDES continually bragging about modest and meager “jobs” gains.

    Comment by Lizard People Friday, Nov 18, 11 @ 4:31 pm

  17. Meant to say that if the unemployed AREN’T the people getting those jobs.


    Comment by Lizard People Friday, Nov 18, 11 @ 4:32 pm

  18. === The number of employed Illinoisans has been on a downward spiral since January ===

    Someone probably should have warned you that you can’t just run around making up statistics — especially employment numbers — with the Dog on the prowl.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private sector employment in Illinois has grown from 4,685,800 to 4,864,000 since January, a net gain of 175,000 jobs.

    Comment by Yellow Dog Democrat Friday, Nov 18, 11 @ 5:06 pm

  19. Back when I used to keep track of the numbers (pre-2002 going back 20+ years), the Illinois welfare / unemployment trends lagged the national trends … and this was before when we had more manufacturing jobs (which, to me, tend to be a leading indicator) and less service jobs (which tend to be a trailing indicator).

    Back then, Illinois lagged the national statistics going into a recession by 6 to 12 months and lagged coming out by 12 to 18 months. If I was to guess about the current job mix, I would expect the Illinois recovery to lag the national trend by 18 to 24 months …

    Comment by Retired Non-Union Guy Friday, Nov 18, 11 @ 5:14 pm

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