Unemployment

Quick Hit
by Public News Service
12:57pm
Wed Apr 16

Analysis: 64,000 Illinoisans Still Without Work

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - New data shows how the reauthorization of federal unemployment assistance could help 64,000 Illinoisans.

When federal long-term unemployment benefits ended in December, according to the analysis from the Illinois Department of Employment Security, 74,000 Illinois workers immediately lost their temporary help. Jay Rowell, the department's director, said 86 percent of them still were without work one month later.

"This seriously undermines the idea that unemployment insurance discourages people from finding employment," Rowell said. "To get unemployment, you had to have been working and lost your job through no fault of their own. So these were people who were working before, have been looking for work, and just haven't been able to find it."
  Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:26pm
Fri Apr 4

Report: Credit Score Disparities Contribute To Racial Wealth Gap In Illinois

Residents in predominantly minority communities in Illinois have lower credit scores on average than those in mostly white neighborhoods — and that is a significant contributor to the racial wealth gap, according to a recent report from the Illinois Asset Building Group and the Social IMPACT Research Center at the Heartland Alliance, a Midwest anti-poverty organization.

The credit score gap between white and minority communities fuels racial inequality in the state, the "Trapped by Credit" report concludes.

In general, the report found that communities of color in Illinois are less likely than mostly white neighborhoods to have well-being indicators associated with stronger credit scores, such as higher levels of educational attainment and greater rates of homeownership and employment.

Similarly, communities of color have on average lower levels of "good debt" from student or home loans and higher levels of "bad debt" from sources like credit cards.

Since good credit scores help people gain access to better jobs, homeownership and higher education, "a cycle emerges where low credit scores feed decreased financial and social opportunity, which in turn feeds low credit scores," the report reads. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:13pm
Fri Mar 28

Foster Launches Local Initiative To Promote Job Creation, Economic Development

Illinois public and private sector leaders are joining U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL,11) in an effort to help boost jobs and economic development in Will County and the Chicago region.

Foster kicked off his "Project Growth" initiative at a panel discussion in Joliet on Friday. The endeavor is focused on four key issues: education, manufacturing, strengthening the middle-class and transportation.

“My goal in launching Project Growth is to do deep examinations of what’s working in our communities, what isn’t working, and what we can be doing to better support job creation and more economic development,” the congressman said at the launch of his new initiative. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:04pm
Wed Mar 26

Report: Youth Unemployment High In Illinois, Chicago & Black Teens Hit The Hardest

Illinois teens are having a hard time attaining work, with the Prairie State being among the top ten states in the nation with the highest teen jobless rates. In 2012, the youth employment rate in Illinois was only 27 percent, a decrease of 10 percentage points from 2006, according to a recent report by the Chicago-based Alternative Schools Network.

The teen employment rate at the national level was also 27 percent in 2012. That figure is also down from 36 percent in 2006 and reflects the lowest employment rate in the nation's post-World War II history, according to the report, which is part of an ongoing series focused on local and national teen employment trends.

As previously noted, Illinois was one of10 states with the highest teen unemployment rate in 2012. And out of all Illinois teens, those in Chicago fared the worst with an employment rate of just 19 percent.

Across all geographic areas, black teens had the lowest employment rates compared to all other racial and ethnic groups, the report showed. In Illinois, only 16 out 100 black teens were employed in 2012, while just 11 out of 100 black teens in Chicago had jobs during that year.

“Every year, thousands of youth apply for jobs and every year there simply are not enough," Alternative Schools Network Executive Director Jack Wuest said in a statement. "The exclusion of teens from the job market is likely to continue and brings with it bleak economic prospects, limited earnings potential and significant taxpayer burden for the magnitude of jobless youth. Job creation for teens and young adults for 2014 has to be an immediate priority.” Read more »

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:37pm
Thu Mar 20

Chicago's Food Deserts Are A 'Civil Rights Issue', Experts Say

While the population of food deserts may have arguably decreased over recent years in Chicago, a number of obstacles still remain when it comes to expanding access to healthy foods in the city, according to panelists who discussed the topic Thursday afternoon.

The Illinois Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hosted the talk in Chicago to hear from public, private and non-profit leaders who work on food access issues. Back in 2011, the committee issued its own report about Chicago food deserts, a problem it says must be addressed as a civil rights issue.

Food deserts are communities that lack healthy, fresh food options. In Chicago, African-American and Latino communities tend to face the greatest food access challenges. The Emanuel administration has worked to expand food access by bringing in new grocery stores, additional farmers markets and more produce carts, among other efforts.

But panelists at the discussion, held at Kennedy-King College on Chicago's South Side, noted that poverty and high prices for healthy foods are big barriers standing in the way of eliminating food deserts.  Read more »

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