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Issues Behind 'Transform Rockford' Reflected in Latest Unemployment Data

Region continues to shed jobs at a consistent pace according to IDES.
WTVO/WQRF -- The Rockford Metropolitan area continues to lose jobs at a rate of a little more than 100 per month according to the latest  Illinois Department of Employment Security figures.  Despite that, the area's October unemployment rate was relatively stable at 10.5%, down slightly from 10.6% in October of 2012.

On possible reason for the loss of jobs -- the survey indicated weakness in the manufacturing center.   “Modest job growth continues across the state despite pockets of slow growth tied to a temporary weakness in the global manufacturing market,” IDES Director Jay Rowell said in a news release.  IDES adds however that government jobs have seen the biggest decline in the region.

This came in an environment where both the state and nation saw some improvement in the employment picture.  The big job creator in Illinois is the Chicago metro area, which added 54,000 jobs in the 12 months ending in October 2012.  The Quad Cities had the lowest unemployment rate in Illinois at 6.7%, in part because of the influence of cities in Iowa which fall into that metro area, a state where unemployment overall is significantly lower than Illinois.

As for individual cities, Rockford's unemployment rate is 12.2%, Belvidere is 10.2% and Freeport is 9.8%.

The latest data appear to confirm the overview recently presented by the 'Transform Rockford' movement.  That the Rockford area's economy is being undercut by high taxes, high crime rates, increased poverty and financial distress, an inadequately trained workforce, and too much dependence on one industry -- manufacturing -- for employment.  It could be argued all have had a negative impact on employment and job growth.

The next 'Transform Rockford' Engagement Summit is scheduled for Saturday, December 14, 2013 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM at Ellis Elementary School 222 S. Central Ave  Rockford, IL 61102.
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