Despite the Low Unemployment Rates Illinois Residents Struggle to Find Jobs


By Laura Skindaraite, Veronica Stanoulov and Madelyn Rose

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“Smilga Restaurant” workers are getting ready for the birthday party.
Photo by Laura Skindaraite


Despite the declining unemployment rate in Illinois, people are still struggling to find a job, according to an analysis of employment data.

Unemployment in Illinois has been steadily declining over the past eight years according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. From 2015 to 2016, the employment rate grew .53 percent according to the Data USA: Illinois.


Unemployment Rate in Illinois

According to the Google Public Data Explore, in March 2010, the unemployment rate in Illinois was 11.1 percent and this year June it dropped to 4.3 percent. Comparing it with the overall unemployment rate in the United States, in February 2010 it was 10 percent and this year June it was 4.0 percent.

Martin Rose was working as a director and educator in respiratory at Community Nursing Rehab in Naperville. He, along with many others, struggled with unemployment as a company failed to bring in income. In June of 2018, 13 employees were left jobless.

“They were laying people off because they closed the unit and sold the building because the current owner was not earning enough profits from the facility I worked at,” Rose said.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010, the unemployment rate reached the highest point of the decade-9.8 percent. In August 2018, it dropped to 3.9 percent which was the lowest unemployment rate of the decade.

FInal Project ScreengrabU.S Unemployment Rates

While the unemployment rate as a whole has been decreasing for the United States, people in smaller towns are still struggling to find a job.

“Unemployment really will never go away and every American should be prepared for it,” Rose said. ”Because it goes in cycles and the 2007-09 recession was so effective everybody has to be aware of it.”

Overall, the median income of Illinois residents is growing. According to U.S Censusthe median income of a household grew 6.7 percent in seven years. The median income grew from $55,222 in 2009 to $59,196 in 2016.

In October, the United States unemployment rate was at an extreme low at 3.0 percent. By acknowledging the factors that affected the increase in unemployment and taking the necessary steps to take preventative measures, this would help individuals, the government, and the overall health of the nation as a whole.

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Unemployment Map of U.S.

The unemployment rates have been constantly fluctuating every year. They usually do not stay constant for too long. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate fluctuates on a local, state, and nationwide level.

There are many factors that affect the unemployment rates, such as the government and the economy.

“I was laid off for quite some time. I searched for a new job constantly. I signed up for online job recruiters, but I did not get anything from them. I was also on LinkedIn,” Rose said.

There are many different resources people use in order to find a job. Many individuals use online employment-oriented service or approach to the job agencies. These employment services assist in linking employers with potential applicants.

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Lina is working as the makeup artist at the “Hair Spa” salon
Photo by Laura Skindaraite

“I personally get about ten job applications every day but as a whole, we distribute the number of people that reach out to us every day,” said Nick Dimitru who works at SNI Companies, a staffing agency that aids individuals with job searches.

The population in Illinois is decreasing. According to the U.S. Census, the estimated population in 2017 was at 12,802,023. World Population Review states that the total population of Illinois in 2018 is 12,768,320

“I have not noticed any trends of when there is a higher amount of people looking for jobs since I have not been with the company for too long but my co-workers have informed me that the market and politics do play a role in the number of people seeking work,” Dimitru said.

Even after approaching the SNI Companies, a job agency the helps people find employment opportunities, people are not guaranteed to get a job because an agency has to follow the requirements from the employers, such as education, experience, and availability of the employee.

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ACS Job Fair, USAG Humphreys
Photo from Creative Commons

“Most jobs are either looking for a few years of experience in that field, a certain level of education or they have tight restrictions that limit the eligible amount of applicants. Some employers require a certain amount of hours worked, or some are only looking for seasonal or contract employees. The market and government put a tight strain on those seeking jobs,” Dimitru said.

However, despite being well qualified, even skilled workers with years of experience are struggling to find a job.

“You would think that mechanics are needed because everyone needs their car fixed, right? I thought so too, mechanics actually have a low unemployment rate but I just couldn’t find a job, it was horrible,” said Jose Hernandez, a skilled mechanic who lost his job in May 2016 and was unemployed for a year.

“I wasn’t very worried about it because I didn’t think it would be hard for me to find a new job. I was applying for different companies and asking people around if they know anyone hiring. I got some calls back but at the end of the day, I still didn’t have a job,” Hernandez said.

Beyond the statistics, workers and experts say unemployment often leads to mental problems and a feeling of unfulfillment.

“I felt really bad and was depressed because I couldn’t provide for my family,” Hernandez said. “I would get some small jobs, helping out our neighbors or friends fixing their cars or just helping around the house but it still wasn’t the same as actually having a job.”






New York Time Lapse

A Look at New York’s Growth Since 1984 By: Madelyn Rose

New York City has been known as one of the largest cities in the United States since the population skyrocketed at the end of the 1700’s. As it continued to grow, it must be able to maintain and build buildings to allow new people to move into different neighborhoods. Along with maintaining an environment that attracts new comers and residences continue to stay in NYC. Today, it has reached its highest record 8.6 million people and had a 5.5 percent growth since 2010. In this graphic you can see that vast changes in New York City as the population has grown throughout the years.,-73.93283,11.459,latLng&t=2.91

 Link: Interactive Graphic

Central Park as grown throughout they ears. The pond has grown, as well as other been added. More fields for baseball, trails, and a zoo have been created for tourists and residence. The buildings have grown and been added all over Manhattan, also on the other side of the bridge in Brooklyn. New York City has only grown bigger since the 80’s, as more people move there to see the big apple.








Craft Beer in the U.S.A

The craft beer industry has been around for years. Many small and independent breweries produce over 6 million barrels of craft beer, making a big economical impact within the United States. In the visual below, statistics show the economical impact craft beer has in our country. This breaks down what states have the the highest sales, as well as jobs created from these industries.

Here you can see the statistics of the sales of craft beer in the U.S.A:

Interactive Graph












Sports Data- Summer Olympics

Summer Olympic Medalists by: Madelyn Rose 

The Summer Olympics is one of the largest world-wide sporting events in history. Different cities all around the world host the event every four years. Bringing together the best athletes from all over, awarding gold, silver and bronze medals to the winners. The graph here represents the amount of gold medals won by participants from the summer Olympics. Over the course of 29 summer games in 20 different countries, there are some athletes that come out on top many times. Proving their mastery in the event.



The United States has the most athletes with gold medals, with Michael Phelps having the highest number. Phelps holds 23 gold medals,  with Ryan Lochte following behind with 6 gold medals. Both these men are participants in the event of swimming. Swimming is one of the events held in every game since the vent started. Overall, the United States has won 2,546 medals throughout Summer Olympic history. The Soviet Union follows behind with 3 gold medal winners Larysa Latynina, Nikolay Andrianov, and Borys Shakhlin.





Google Trends

Pop Culture Wars: Madelyn Rose

The first trend: 80’s Icons

The battle between Michael Jackson and Prince has been on going since the peek of their careers in the 1980’s. To this day the younger generation is still familiar with these two giants in the music industry. I wanted to see who really came out on top for recent searches in the past year. There are a lot of special dates now that these artists are no longer with us. Death days and Birthdays are all special events for these singers, many people tend to search them around these times. This graphic shows the most recent trends between the two October 2017.


Michael Jackson tends to top Prince over the past year. Prince has two major peaks. One is around February, this is the time when his most popular love songs are search. The other peak is around the time of his death. April is the month of his death, and there is a clear rise of searches of his name compared to Michael. Jackson manages to rise above Prince majority of the time. You can see his trend skyrocket in the months of June and August. June is the time of his death, and August is his birth month. Even though Prince also has his birthday in June, Michael was still a bigger trend.

The Second Trend: Superheroes 

Iron Man and Captain America are Marvel Comics biggest superheroes. These two have battled over the thrown for years as the movie franchise has grown bigger. With multiple different movies coming out about them and along with the Avengers series both are a popular search trend. I wanted to see just who is more popular than the other when it comes to trends on google. This graphic represents the google trends since 2004 between Captain America and Iron Man from Marvel Cinematic Universe.


In the graphic, it shows that Iron Man is an overall higher trend than Captain America. Although Iron Man tends to be more popular the two are very closely tied with one another. Captain America has beaten Iron Man in certain months especially when a new standalone movie was released. Iron Man also showed this pattern of having a higher percentage when a movie was released about the character. Iron Man’s rating surpass Captains America in the earlier years when all the Iron Man Movies were released. Along with Captain’s 3 films that came out a couple years after. The two also tie together since the past year, as for the both the actors contracts are ending and what will become of Captain America and Iron Man remain unknown.



Unemployment Net Change

Over the course of 13 years, the unemployment rate has been changing. Since 2006 the rates have been either dropping or rising in America. While in 2009, it had a major dropped making it the lowest unemployment rate we have had.


After 2009, we see an increase of employment rates for the year after. There was a labor force rise and rate of it got higher as the years went on. Until 2012, when it peaked at its highest percentage, then started decreasing again. As the economy is constantly growing or changing the unemployment rates will continue to either rise or drop within our country.

Cubs Attendance since 2007

Chicago Cubs Attendance

This graphic shows the number of attendees to see the Chicago Cubs since 2007 to 2016. The Cubs hit a record of over 3,300,000 people in the year 2008. After that the number of attendance decreased throughout the years. After 2014, the number increasing significantly and once the Cubs entered the World Series finals the number skyrocketed back up.

Here you can see the rapid decrease in 2008 to 2013. In 2013, the team had their lowest attendance with 2,642,628 people. After that the number started to rise bring them back up to 3,2,32,420 in 2016.



Quinn: Illinois Pensions Threaten MAP Grants

Patt Quinn

Editor’s note: This story was originally posted on Dec. 12, 2012 and is housed at

By Bob Smith

Gov. Pat Quinn visited DePaul University’s Loop campus on Wednesday to discuss how pension reform is harming the Monetary Award Program (MAP) college scholarships and access to higher education in Illinois.

“This is so important to our state, not only in the past, but certainly now and in the future,” Quinn said.
“We want everyone to have the opportunity to go to college that has the ability to go to college.”

MAP grants are need-based college scholarships that allow merit students who are in need across the state and do not need to be repaid by the student. Quinn said that due to cutbacks and having to pay more money in the pension amount, almost 18,000 students lost their MAP grant scholarships this year.

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