State lawmakers aim to improve job market, reduce unemployment
Since June 2014, the nation’s largest job losses were in Illinois, which lost 7,500 positions in June 2015, the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor said.
The state gaining the most jobs over the past year was New York, which added 25,500 new jobs in June.
“The employment climate in our state is not good,” state Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Dist. 41) recently told the DuPage Policy Journal. “Until the political uncertainty and budget problems are resolved, the situation may not improve soon for Illinois.”
Radogno, a leading state budget expert, is heavily focused on turning around the state’s “contentious” budget situation and recently, along with state Reps. Jim Durkin (R-Dist. 82) and Ron Sandack (R-Dist. 81), hosted a free job fair in Willowbrook.
“This is just one component of my efforts to connect employers with employees and improve the overall employment climate in the state,” Radogno said. “The overall goal is to get more employers into the state.”
The July 22 job fair is the second annual event hosted by the state lawmakers. Radogno said she was “pleasantly surprised” with the success of the event and “heartened by the response” from both employers and job seekers.
In fact, the senator’s press secretary, Patty Schuh, said the job fair ultimately brought together 120 employers and 500 job seekers. Schuh said almost 1,500 resumes were collected and 216 interviews conducted by a wide variety of employers, such as Walgreens, the Chicago Zoological Society, JPMorgan Chase & Co., MicroTrain Technologies, the DuPage County Workforce Development Division, and several statewide agencies and health care-related companies.
“So many job offers were made on the spot,” Schuh told the DuPage Policy Journal.
“In all, there were 264 provisional and firm job offers extended during this event, and we are hoping more matches will be made.”
The Illinois Department of Employment Security expects a total of 375 jobs to be filled as a result of the job fair.
Nevertheless, Radogno told the DuPage Policy Journal that she remains “concerned about the need.”
"We feel we lag behind our neighbors in the Midwest," Schuh said. "We might get a burst of good news, but then we look around and our neighbors have better news.”
For example, in June, Illinois’ unemployment rate stood at 5.9 percent, a decrease from the state’s June 2014 unemployment rate of 7.1 percent, based on Labor Department statistics. Meanwhile, the June unemployment rates in neighboring Iowa, Wisconsin and Indiana stood at 3.7 percent, 4.6 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively. Even Missouri squeaked by with a smaller unemployment rate of 5.8 percent in June. Updated state unemployment figures for July will be released on Aug. 21 by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Looking ahead, Radogno is equally concerned that the state has not positioned itself well to compete in a global economy and seeks to have related reforms enacted that are “balanced and common-sense changes.”
Radogno's 41st District encompasses all or some of the communities of Lemont, Indian Head Park, LaGrange, Western Springs, Homer Glen, Burr Ridge, Darien, Downers Grove, Lisle, Willowbrook, Woodridge, Naperville and Bolingbrook.