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What is happening with Illinois jobs?

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The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 6.8 percent in July, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, down from 7.1 percent in June and 9.2 percent one year ago.

The IDES news release went on, "The unemployment rate also is in line with other economic indicators. First time jobless claims have been trending lower for the past four years and in July were about 17 percent lower than one year ago. Numbers from the independent Conference Board's Help Wanted OnLine Index show Illinois employers in July advertised for nearly 204,000 jobs and 85 percent sought full-time work."

But unfortunately we are still below the National average and supposedly have the third worst jobless rate. According to the Chicago Tribune, unemployment stands at 8.1 percent in the city.

What is happening to Illinois?

After driving through a town where my mother grew up in Central Illinois, it was impossible not to notice welcome signs peeling, homes so in need of repair, hometown business, newspapers, factories, farms, all closed. Those that have stayed open hire temporary wages without benefits; barely able to survive. Economists claim that Illinois jobs are growing, but the wages are extremely low. Part time work is higher than ever, some having two part-time jobs again without benefits. That is not included in the unemployment rate as well as those who have dropped out of the job market entirely.The Labor Department defines a part-time work week as fewer than 35 hours.

But regardless if we have to start at the bottom again, we have to keep building, creating, keeping ourselves and the middle class alive. Re-inventing ourselves in a variety of career options that we didn't think possible.

It is tough, downright degrading at times, but really take a look at your background of skills and how you can apply those into markets that you would not have thought about before.

Look at industries differently in your local area and how you can apply those technology skills or customer service skills, for example, to the accounting and legal services that is hiring. Maybe your are not a construction worker, but your customer service, reception skills may enhance a construction company. Maybe your a web designer that can help that repair and maintenance business that is thriving. Maybe you have retail experience that can be applied at a retail environment that is a better match to the hourly rate you need and offers the option to grow full time.

Sometimes, we really have to think outside of the box. As our economy, especially in Illinois, maybe at the bottom of the barrel...someone once told me that any number was better than 0.

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