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State jobs report shows upward trend

Brock A. Stein | 3/16/2017, midnight
A recently revised report from the Illinois Department of Employment Security showed that the state gained 2000 jobs in December ...

A recently revised report from the Illinois Department of Employment Security showed that the state gained 2000 jobs in December after showing an initial loss of over 16,000.

In addition, a report for January showed the state added another 1,700 to its employment rolls.

John Greuling, President and CEO of the Will County Center for Economic Development called the upward trend “interesting” but said that the state still has a way to go before reaching parity with neighboring states.

“Quite frankly if you look at what we haven’t gained since the recovery started we’re still miles behind where we should be compared to our peers,” he said.

Still, Will County, since the recovery officially started in 2010, has seen consistent yearly job growth much of it in the warehouse, transportation, logistics and health care fields.

According to figures from the Will County Workforce Board, Will County saw an increase of just over 7,000 jobs, a 3% increase, from 2016 to 2017. The largest increases of 6% were in the categories of Transportation and Warehousing and Wholesale Trade. All told the county added just over 7,000 jobs from 2016 to 2017 according to the report, a number consistent with the past 3-4 years, said Greuling.

“We’ve continued to be a jobs engine in terms of new job creation and that’s going to continue,” he said.

Illinois’ unemployment rate of 5.7% is still higher than the national average of 4.8% and the state is still lagging behind in recapturing the jobs it had at its peak in 2000 however.

“If Illinois had grown at the same rate as the nation since the beginning of the recovery in 2010, we would have an additional 222,700 jobs,” said Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity Director Sean McCarthy in a release.

McCarty’s office noted that Illinois’ job numbers could improve with “a balanced budget and structural changes that will create jobs.”

Despite the anemic state numbers, Greuling still finds cause to be optimistic.

“I think that we’re remotely to the positive is good,” he said.