(Chicago, IL) — April 2, 2010. The Illinois job market continued its downward slide in February battering Illinois communities and posing a stiff challenge to Governor Pat Quinn‘s election campaign against State Senator Bill Brady (R-Bloomington).
Unemployment rates rose above previous-year levels in all 12 metro areas for the 33rd consecutive month, according to data released today by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
Metro areas that reported the largest increases compared with February 2009 were: Decatur (+4.5 points to 14.6 percent); Rockford (+4.0 points to 18.6 percent), Danville (+3.8 points to 15.1 percent); Kankakee-Bradley (+3.8 points to 16.1 percent); and Peoria (+3.8 points to 13.2 percent).
Total jobs decreased over-the-year in 11 of the 12 metro areas. The largest percentage decreases were reported in Peoria (-5.7 percent, -10,400), Decatur (-5.1 percent, -2,700) and Rockford (-4.3 percent, -6,300). And the Chicago-area lost 137,500 jobs.
That’s a whole lot of jobs gone. Poof.
“The national recession’s impact on every job sector is directly reflected in this local data,” IDES Director Maureen O’Donnell said. “Communities with heavy concentrations of manufacturing and construction will continue to experience sluggish job markets.”
“Sluggish” would also be a good word to represent Quinn’s campaign against Brady. In recent polls, Quinn is lagging behind the arch-conservative Brady by 10 points and winning only 25% of the vote downstate. Despite Quinn’s relentless efforts to promote his jobs creation record, the unadjusted 12.2% Illinois unemployment rate is key factor weighing heavily on his political fortunes.
It’s an open question whether the wisps of economic revival exert themselves enough to aid Quinn in the next seven months. In normal economic times, Brady’s right-wing agenda would mark him as a sure loser in moderate and deep blue Illinois. But not now. Brady has a credible chance of winning.
Quinn has a fight on his hands–but not with Brady–but with Illinois unemployment.