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Local

Still reeling from Great Recession

Bureau County better than average for state

SPRINGFIELD — It’s been called the Great Recession, when speculation in the housing market by financial institutions resulted in an estimated $8 trillion in losses. Officially, the Great Recession lasted from December 2007 to June 2009 and includes
the global crisis of 2009 that resulted. But while the recession may be over, many states — including Illinois — have yet to recover from the lost jobs during that period.

The Great Recession will go down as an economic crisis second only to the Great Depression, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Nationwide, nine million jobs have been recovered as of May, according to the Department of Labor, and June’s estimates show more job growth.

But according to the Department of Labor statistics, 32 states including Illinois are still struggling. At the beginning of the recession, Illinois’ unemployment was 5.1 percent, higher than the national average but normal for the state. Unemployment in Illinois peaked in January 2010 at 11.4 percent, more than double 2007’s percentage. As of June 1, Illinois has clawed its way back to 7.5 percent, more than a full percentage point behind the national average of 6.3 percent. In fact, after the recession ended, Illinois lost more than a percentage point of jobs in seven months.

Forty-three states have lower unemployment rates than Illinois.

Bureau County has weathered the storm better than most counties. The latest figures place local unemployment at 7.4 percent, slightly lower than the state average.

Nearby, the news is a bit more dismal. Although the Illinois Department of Employment Security notes a gain of more than a full percentage point since May 2013, LaSalle County still has the highest unemployment rate of the state among non-metropolitan areas at 8.9 percent. Putnam County fares a little better with a rate of 8.2 percent.

A July Reuter’s story indicates United States’ employment rates will likely make modest gains into 2016 as the recovery from the Great Recession continues. The Reuter’s story notes jobs will increase at a level of 2.5 percent in 2015 and 3 percent in 2016.

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