Illinois is still far off its best unemployment rate ever of 4.2 percent (imagine that!) set in February 1999, but things could be a lot worse. And they were, back in February 1983 when Illinois' unemployment rate was a whopping 12.9 percent.
Illinois' unemployment rate in February was 8.7 percent, which was the second highest in the nation ahead of only Rhode Island. But when looking at the 102 counties in Illinois, only 18 counties actually had an unemployment rate lower than the state's rate of 8.7 percent.
Early each month a lot is riding on the jobs and unemployment reports announced by the BLS and corporate surveys (the most prominent being ADP's). Billions upon billions of dollars are made and lost in the stock and bond markets based on those reports.
Leo Hindery says up front that the BLS only notes those specifically looking for work. That may make sense to some -- until one learns who is left out. According to the Hindery report, the ones who are left under the rug of America's unemployment mess are those who've given up looking.
Only a limited number of government programs use data and evidence to guide funding choices or conduct evaluations to understand the impact after programs are implemented, meaning we know startlingly little about which government programs are working and which are not.
His fifth State of the Union speech this week gives President Obama a perfect opportunity to proclaim to all of America that he will preserve the freedom to engage in collective action. It's an important moment for him to say the word 'union' loudly.