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Unemployment rate declines; job growth lags

Kane County’s unemployment rate in May was slightly lower than the state and national rates, according to the most recent comparable data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The county posted a nonseasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.8 percent in May, while the nonadjusted rates showed Illinois at 5.6 percent and the nation at 5.3 percent, according to the bureau.

Declining unemployment rates, along with increasing interest rates, are indicators the economy is heating up again, said Don Cummings, founder of Geneva-based investment management firm Blue Haven Capital LLC and a Geneva alderman.

The Kane County unemployment rate has decreased by 1.7 percent compared to May 2014, according to the bureau. The state’s unemployment rate decreased by 1.3 percent from May 2014, and the U.S. rate dropped 0.8 percent during the same time period.

Although Illinois has gained an average of 5,300 jobs a month during its recovery from the recession, many other states have seen a quicker recovery, according to an Illinois Department of Employment Security news release.

The number of Illinois jobs will likely not reach pre-recession levels until June 2016, according to department analyst estimates.

In May, the three industries in Illinois with the largest gains in employment were professional and business services with 6,900 jobs, leisure and hospitality at 3,300 jobs and government with 2,300 jobs, according to the department.

Industries with the largest declines in May included manufacturing with a loss of 2,500 jobs; trade, transportation and utilities losing 2,300 jobs; and financial activities with a loss of 1,200 jobs, according to the department.

“I do think we’re in a ‘new normal’ – I think some manufacturing that has gone away will never come back,” Cummings said during a recent phone interview.

An announcement of local mass layoffs involving hundreds of manufacturing jobs at the Honeywell System Sensor facility, 3825 Ohio Ave., St. Charles, was made earlier in June. The positions are being moved to other Honeywell manufacturing sites, according to a statement from the company.

A total of 252 workers will be affected, with the first layoff date scheduled for July 27, according to the May Illinois Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN, report.

“We need to focus on retooling for different jobs,” Cummings said.

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