Thursday, July 30, 2009

Algonquin, LITH Unemployment Better County Average

While the unemployment in McHenry County reached a new high last month, the latest figures from the Illinois Department of Employment Security show Algonquin and Lake in the Hills fared much better. Data for Huntley unemployment, meanwhile, won't be available for another six months.

According to last week's IDES report McHenry County's unemployment rate rose to 10.9 percent in June. But the unemployment rate in Algonquin was only 9.8 percent and Lake in the Hills' rate was 10.2 percent. The rate in Crystal Lake was roughly average for the county at 11.0 percent.

If the unemployment rate in Algonquin and Lake in the Hills was lower than the rate for McHenry County it must logically have been higher somewhere else. However, IDES communications manager Greg Rivara said there's no way to tell where that was. He said his department only breaks out unemployment figures for municipalities with 25,000 or more population so there are no figures for McHenry, Woodstock, Marengo and Harvard.

Over 25,000 would include Huntley whose population now stands at 25,525 thanks to last year's special census but the department doesn't include numbers for the village and won't until next year, according to Rivara. He said it would be "administratively difficult" for IDES to add the village to the department's list of reported communities right now. Figures for Huntley won't be available until IDES performs an annual review "probably in February", Rivara reported.

The latest unemployment summary showed 1,681 Algonquin residents were jobless in June out of a labor force of 17,188. In Lake in the Hills, 1,795 were out of work in a labor force of 17,526.
Rivara noted that IDES unemployment figures don't directly address economic conditions in McHenry County or the communities in it. By IDES rules,"unemployment goes with residence," Rivara said, "but job loss may be somewhere else."

That's an important statistical quirk in McHenry County where roughly half of all workers are employed outside the county according to the last census. If, for example, an Algonquin resident commuting to Schaumburg were laid off, unemployment in Algonquin would go up even though no job was actually lost there. By the same token, even though the job disappeared in Schaumburg it would have no effect on Cook County's unemployment rate.

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