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.
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.