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Crain's Chicago Business: Chicago's job market is rebounding — here's why

11/20/2012 12:00 AM

By Steven Koch, Deputy Mayor of Chicago

The latest unemployment report contained startling numbers for Chicago — startlingly positive, that is. 

Year over year, Chicago's unemployed fell by 30,000, the best improvement since 1995. Chicago's total number of employed increased by a nation-leading 43,000, meaning even as Chicago grows, our workforce keeps up. Our unemployment dropped by 2.5 percentage points, double the national average of 1.2 points.
Sometimes, we in government focus too much on statistics. So it is important to pause and think about what these numbers mean. It means 43,000 families are back in the workforce, hundreds of thousands of people who will benefit, in one way or another, from someone's job, and inside each CTA bus or restaurant might be a couple of people who have found work in the last year. These numbers means things are moving forward. But why?
There are several reasons. First, there is confidence in Chicago today. Companies are moving here and creating jobs. Young people are moving here and finding jobs. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has led initiatives to attract both companies and potential employees. Second, Chicago's business climate is improving. Gone are the employee head tax and unnecessary licenses. Today, entrepreneurs find a flexible government partner. Finally, Chicago's economy is diverse. No sector represents more than 13 percent of the economy, meaning that Chicago is always nimble and ready to respond.
Those three factors explain, in part, why Chicago has outpaced the nation recently. Here's why it's going to continue.
First, our workforce is constantly bettering itself, due to the aforementioned efforts but also to the revamped City Colleges of Chicago, now working with Chicago's corporations to produce work-ready graduates through the College to Careers program. Imagine: a potential workforce of more than 100,000 students, finally being given the right training for the right jobs.

Read full story at Crain's Chicago Business

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