Illinois’ unemployment rate is up, even though more people are working. The August unemployment rate was 9.1 percent, up from 8.9 percent in July, with an increase of 6,700 unemployed people – a total of 593,800. At the same time the unemployment rate was rising, Illinois gained 9,600 jobs – 9,000 in the private sector and 600 in government.
The reason employment and unemployment can go up at the same time is because more people are participating in the labor force by working or looking for work. How this report bodes for the future is hard to read, says Greg Rivara of the Illinois Department of Employment Security. “Does the pattern show us that we are going to have more jobs created and more people working, or are we going to cross the pattern of the past, where we’re going to have fewer jobs and fewer people working?” he said.