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Chicago-Area Unemployment Rate Rises To 9.7 Percent In July

There was good and bad news yesterday for the Chicago metro area concerning employment. First, the good. From a Thursday news release on the Illinois Department of Employment Security website concerning jobs and payrolls in July 2013:

Jobs increased in four metros and declined in eight. Largest increases: Champaign-Urbana (+2.4 percent, +2,400), Chicago-Joliet-Naperville (+1.9 percent, +69,800), and Kankakee-Bradley (+0.5 percent, +200). Industry sectors increasing in the most metros: Leisure and Hospitality (eight of 12) and Educational and Health Services (seven of 12).

69,000 more jobs in July for the Chicago area compared to a year ago. Good to hear.

And the bad? Also from that release:

July local unemployment rates fell in seven of 12 metro areas, according to preliminary data released today by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). Not seasonally adjusted data compares July 2013 to July 2012. Largest decreases: Metro East ( 1.0 point to 8.6 percent), Lake County (-0.4 to 8.4 percent) and Rockford ( 0.3 to 11.4 percent). Largest increases: Decatur (+1.9 points to 13.2 percent), Peoria (+1.4 to 9.4 percent), Danville (+1.2 to 11.8 percent) and Chicago-Joliet-Naperville (+0.3 to 9.7 percent).

The Chicagoland unemployment rate increased .3 percent last month to 9.7 percent when compared to July 2012. Not so good.

And even though local unemployment rates fell in a number of metro areas across the “Land of Lincoln” last month, when Illinois was matched up against the other 50 states, it had the second highest unemployment rate in the country- 9.2 percent– after Nevada (9.5 percent).

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics website, 8 states had an unemployment rate under 5 percent last month – Iowa (4.8 percent), Utah, Vermont, Wyoming (all 4.6 percent), Hawaii (4.5 percent), Nebraska (4.2 percent), South Dakota (3.9 percent), and North Dakota (3.0 percent)

Neighbors Wisconsin and Indiana came in at numbers 20 (6.8 percent) and 39 (8.4 percent), respectively.

You can read the entire IDES new release on their website here.

You can view the July 2012 unemployment rates for all 50 states on the BLS website here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Friday, August 23rd, 2013 Employment Comments Off on Chicago-Area Unemployment Rate Rises To 9.7 Percent In July

AAA Predicts Falling Gas Prices, Except In Great Lakes Region

Usually around this time of year, I commute more often between my pad in Chicago and my family’s place in southeastern Wisconsin. While that won’t be happening as much in 2013 due to everything that’s going on around here, I still like to keep on top of gas prices to get an idea of how much I’ll be shelling out to enjoy the open road.

(Editor’s note: Open road my butt. This is the Chicago metropolitan area, where if bumper-to-bumper gridlock isn’t taking place, you’re dealing with drivers who are distracted, in a hurry to go nowhere, or who really just don’t care about the rules of the road. And a “good drive” is one where you don’t lose a hubcap/wheel cover from a pothole that goes all the way to China.)

Venting process complete.

Anyway, here’s some highlights from the “AAA Monthly Gas Price Report: April 2013 Trends and Summer Outlook” that’s just been released on the “NewsRoom” section of the AAA website:

• Gas prices nationally averaged $3.55 per gallon in April, which was the least expensive average for the month since 2010. Gas prices dropped about 13 cents per gallon in April (3.5 percent), which was the largest percentage decline for the month in ten years. In comparison, gas prices in 2012 averaged $3.89 for the month, while the average price in April 2011 was $3.79 per gallon.
• Gas prices should drop to $3.20 to $3.40 per gallon by mid-summer if current trends continue in regards to oil prices, motorist demand and refinery production. Gas prices in recent years have declined in early summer after reaching a springtime peak as refineries ramp up gasoline production in anticipation of the summer driving season.
• The cheapest gas prices are predominately in the Southeast where extensive refinery production and lower-than-average taxes have helped keep prices low in comparison to the rest of the country. Gas prices in the Great Lakes region have increased in recent weeks because of planned refinery maintenance and unscheduled outages following recent heavy storms.
• The five states with the highest averages today include: Hawaii ($4.34), Alaska ($3.97), Ill. ($3.91), Calif. ($3.90) and Mich. ($3.79). The five states with the cheapest gas price averages today include: S.C. ($3.23), Tenn. ($3.26), Ala. ($3.27), Ark. ($3.27) and Miss. ($3.28).

As for me in Chicago? Prices at the pump have not only been brutal this spring, but are expected to go higher. Samantha Bomkamp reported on the Chicago Tribune website last night:

AAA said Tuesday that motorists nationwide are paying the lowest springtime gas prices in three years, but don’t tell that to drivers in Illinois.

Despite a recent dip, drivers here are paying the highest average price in the lower 48 states. With a statewide average on Tuesday of $3.91 a gallon, Illinois drivers are paying more than every state except Alaska at $3.97 and Hawaii and $4.34.

Costs are even higher in Chicago where the average price was $4.32 per gallon Tuesday, according to AAA. Prices averaged $4.14 in the suburbs…

While AAA predicts that drivers nationally should see gas prices fall even lower, motorists in Illinois and other Great Lakes states should see even higher prices as maintenance continues on refineries that provide most of the region’s gas supplies.

It’s a good thing I fill up in Wisconsin, where the price of gas is routinely cheaper.

East bound and down, loaded up and truckin’…

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

“AAA Monthly Gas Price Report: April 2013 Trends and Summer Outlook.” AAA. 29 Apr. 2013. (http://newsroom.aaa.com/2013/04/aaa-monthly-gas-price-report-april-2013-trends-and-summer-outlook/). 1 May 2013.

Bomkamp, Samantha. “Gas prices ease nationwide while Ill. marches higher.” Chicago Tribune. 30 Apr. 2013. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-gas-prices-ease-nationwide-while-ill-marches-higher-20130430,0,3861102.story). 1 May 2013.

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Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 Energy, Transportation, Travel, Vehicles Comments Off on AAA Predicts Falling Gas Prices, Except In Great Lakes Region

Survey: Illinois Ranked 5th Least Friendly State For Small Business

According to the second annual Small Business Friendliness Survey by Thumbtack and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Illinois was ranked the fifth least friendly state for small business.

Why am I not surprised to hear that?

From the 2013 Thumbtack.com Small Business Survey, which drew upon data from over 7,000 small business owners:

Illinois slipped slightly, dropping from a ‘D+’ overall grade in 2012 to a ‘D’ this year.

Some of the key findings for Illinois include:

• Small businesses gave Illinois a ‘C’ for its regulatory systems and a ‘C-’ for its small business training and networking programs.
• Among major cities nationwide, Chicago improved its overall performance from 2012, rising to a ‘C-’ from a ‘D’. Additionally, the city’s regulatory systems rose from a ‘D+’ to a ‘B-’ this year.

Good job Chicago. Never let it be said I didn’t give credit where credit was due.

According to the survey, the “Top 5” least friendly states for small businesses were:

5. Illinois
4. California
3. Hawaii
2. Maine
1. Rhode Island

And the “Top 5” friendliest states were:

5. Texas
4. Idaho
3. New Hampshire
2. Alabama
1. Utah

As for Wisconsin, where I spend a good deal of my time, the state improved from a ‘C+’ overall grade in last year’s ranking to a ‘B’ in 2013. Also, it’s ranked among the 10 easiest states for establishing a new business.

Sounds like they’re headed in the right direction as it concerns small business.

Wish I could say the same thing about the “Land of Lincoln.” I really do.

You can access the survey on Thumbtack.com here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 Business Comments Off on Survey: Illinois Ranked 5th Least Friendly State For Small Business

Poll: Illinois Finishes Second To California As Least Favorite U.S. State

I heard it on the Chicago morning news today. According to a recent poll, Illinois is the second least favorite state in the Union- topped only by California. The Raleigh, North Carolina-based survey organization Public Policy Polling conducted a “state favorability poll” from October to January in which they asked American voters nationally what their impressions of each state were. The results were discussed on their website Tuesday. The five most favorite states of those surveyed were:

1. Hawaii
2. Colorado
3. Tennessee
4. South Dakota
5. Virginia

While the five least favorite states turned out to be:

1. California
2. Illinois
3. New Jersey
4. Mississippi
5. Utah

Public Policy Polling staff said on their website:

Americans generally have a favorable view of most states. Only five are in negative territory, led by California (27% favorable and 44% unfavorable), Illinois (19-29), New Jersey (25-32), Mississippi (22-28), and Utah (24-27).

Wisconsin, where I spend a good deal of my time during the year, was the 16th most favorite state among respondents.

Source:

“State favorability poll.” Public Policy Polling. 21 Feb. 2012. (http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2012/02/state-favorability-poll.html). 24 Feb. 2012.

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Friday, February 24th, 2012 North America Comments Off on Poll: Illinois Finishes Second To California As Least Favorite U.S. State

Japan Radiation Spreads Throughout U.S. West Coast

Radiation from Japan’s damaged nuclear power plant is being reported in several West Coast states. From CNN’s Elizabeth Landau this morning:

Colorado and Oregon have joined several other Western states in reporting trace amounts of radioactive particles that have likely drifted about 5,000 miles from a quake and tsunami-damaged nuclear power plant in Japan, officials say…

Sampling from a monitor in Colorado — part of a national network of stations on the lookout for radioactivity — detected miniscule amounts of iodine-131, a radioactive form of iodine, the state’s public health and environmental department said Wednesday in a press release.

On the same day in Portland, Oregon, tiny quantities of iodine-131 were also detected by an Environmental Protection Agency air monitor, Oregon public health officials said.

Small amounts of radioactive material were detected Wednesday, too, in Hawaii — just as they had a day earlier, according to the EPA. But while they were above the historical and background norm, the levels weren’t considered harmful to human health.

Washington and California previously reported low levels of radioactive isotopes that likely came from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which has been releasing radioactive particles into the air since its cooling and other systems were damaged by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and massive tsunami on March 11. Efforts continued Thursday to cool down the spent nuclear fuel rods, prevent a further meltdown of the plant’s six reactor cores and curb the release of additional radioactive material.

Federal authorities insist that Americans need not be concerned about the levels of radiation reaching the United States. From the article:

But, on a portion of its website dedicated to tracking such radiation, the Environmental Protection Agency noted Wednesday that these and other readings “show typical fluctuation in background radiation levels” and — thus far — “are far below levels of concern.”

Landau added:

Americans typically get exposure to radiation from natural sources such as the sun, bricks and rocks that are about 100,000 times higher than what has been detected in the United States.

There is no need for anyone as a precautionary measure to take potassium iodide, a medication that can counter the harmful effects of iodine-131, health officials say.

Source:

Landau, Elizabeth. “More U.S. states find traces of radiation from Japan.” CNN.com. 24 Mar. 2011. (http://edition.cnn.com/2011/US/03/23/colorado.oregon.radiation/). 24 Mar. 2011.

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Thursday, March 24th, 2011 Asia, Government, Health, Public Safety 2 Comments
Survival And Prosperity
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