'Brother Can You Spare a Job': Labor Day by the Numbers

Local unemployment rates of 9 to 15 percent make for a lackluster Labor Day.

As we gather this Labor Day to celebrate the social and economic accomplishments of American workers, don’t be surprised if you see one of your unemployed friends or family members white-knuckling it at your backyard barbecue. They may have read the White House’s latest jobs report forecasting continued high unemployment through 2012.

In the latest assessment released last Thursday, the White House expects the unemployment rate to end the year at 9.1 percent, Don Lee reported for the Chicago Tribune. Further, a national average of 9 percent unemployment is predicted for 2012 as we head into another election year.

According to July statistics, the latest data available, the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics places the national unemployment rate at 9.1 percent. Preliminary data for Illinois shows unemployment hovering at 9.5 percent in July.

Regionally, the July unemployment rate for Chicago, Joliet and Naperville remained unchanged at 10.5 percent.

The local snapshot of unemployment in communities served by the Patch network is equally grim. Double-digit unemployment figures were reported in Chicago Heights, Evergreen Park, Oak Forest and Oak Lawn for the month of July.

Unemployment was the worst in Chicago Heights soaring to 15.8 percent in July. The news was slightly better in Tinley Park, which reported the lowest unemployment rate of 8.7 percent, but that’s like getting excited when gas dips below $4 per gallon.

As you turn over that piece of chicken on the Weber, ponder these local unemployment statistics from the Illinois Monthy Labor Force Report issued by the Illinois Department of Employment Security for Patch communities with populations over 25,000.


June 2011

July 2011

July 2010

Chicago Heights




Evergreen Park




Oak Forest




Oak Lawn




Orland Park




Tinley Park




Tinley Park (Cook County)




Tinley Park (Will County)




Not factoring into the above figures are those folks who have given up, the unemployed or underemployed who want full-time jobs and are available for work but have suspended their searches because they believe no jobs are available for them. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics places that number around 2.6 million nationwide, up from 2.4 million a year earlier.

With numbers like these, the White House should be throwing us a party.

Patricia September 06, 2011 at 01:41 PM
Lorraine I sent you an email, Kathy i put in an application with your company this morning, Thank you both for your kindness ladies. I agree the Republicans love total disarray, Buying American yes that will help, but it has always been a hide and seek game trying to find the products and then the cost. Cutting unemployment is not the answer, I would have lost my home, can you imagine? Sad to say but it easily could have been one of you, that's today's economy.....slash. Unemployment is about 9 bucks an hour before taxes, no health insurance since October (pre-existing condition). Its an unfamiliar situation to me, being more mature now and no job, I have always worked. I went to school to enhance my education, still no job,but more avenues to explore. I don't know what the answer is, although stories of Truman seem right about now. Bottom line someone has to create more jobs,someone has to take control of this situation to help us, we the people who live here and have worked hard all of our lives!! Im not giving up.
RobertS September 06, 2011 at 02:02 PM
Buying American can be done and considering we're a nation of consumerism—we can all cut back a bit and support our fellow Americans, it's a matter of what is important to each individual. I feel I don't need as much and I am helping someone and I hope that someone will return the courtesy. Buying American will also send a message to companies that have offshored their production, and hopefully they would bring those facilities back to the U.S. I also went back to school and have found nothing—very discouraging! Have I given up? No, but I have my days when I think it's futile.
Patricia September 06, 2011 at 03:00 PM
Robert, Facebook is great for networking, there is an app called Beknown, check it out!
David H September 06, 2011 at 03:35 PM
As some of you have mentioned and others forgotten, employers need a certain number of employees to stay open regardless of the pay rate. You cannot operate a business without employees. Illegal workers work jobs at companies who skirt the law, but these companies need employees regardless of rate otherwise they close down leaving an opening in the market for other businesses to step in. I think the minimum wage clause only effects low, entry level positions most times. The real problem might be you won't be able to get that $1.50 beer at the bar anymore or the $4.99 Denny's meal. As for eating a crap sandwich, I've never tried one. I have been gainfully employed since I was 15. And if minimum wage was $13 per hour you would make $520 per week gross. That is as much as unemployment with a child, but of course you would need to show up to get paid. When was it that we turned from a country where people took care of their family to a country where everyone else needs to take care of their family?
Genvieve LaChappele September 06, 2011 at 04:33 PM
Hey Denise, the Republicans didn't have enough votes to stop anything! Since 2007. In addition, when The President put forth his first and only budget, it got voted down in the Senate 98-0. The Democrats could have passed anything they wanted but they didn't. Keep blaming those who have zero power and control. Good leaders don't blame, they lead.


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