Reporting Bob Roberts
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CHICAGO (WBBM) – Last month, 30,000 Illinoisans found work – although the state’s jobless rate climbed for the sixth consecutive month.
Gov. Pat Quinn said it’s a positive sign, and shows that even the discouraged are beginning to look for work again.
“The fact that we added 30,000 jobs in our job creation in Illinois, our rate of growth is better than the national rate of growth in job creation,” he said. “It’s a sign that we’re revving up the engines.”
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Quinn spoke at the Latino Caucus Conference in Rosemont. Others attending the conference are not so sure the increase signals an improving economy.
“How secure are these jobs. Are they just seasonal jobs? Because everyone knows that during the Christmas holiday there is a lot of work available,” said Waubonsee Community College instructor Claudia Ramirez. “My nephew found a job. My sister found a job. My brother-in-law – they all found jobs even though they were unemployed, but how long is that going to last?
She said her nephew has been told he has a job only through February.
Teacher Celia Farrow said there’s something else the hiring numbers don’t reflect – the type of job.
“Just because someone’s employed does not mean that they’re employed at the level that they are accustomed to working at,” she said.
Farrow said she sees “more desperation than hope” in her job as unemployed individuals with bachelor’s and master’s degrees return to the classroom seeking new skills. Others said that is especially true in the Hispanic community.
University of Chicago graduate student Liz Stovall said a number of those who attended the conference attended a seminar on how to prepare to seek a job, because they didn’t know where to start.
What did she get out of it?
“What I think is important is that everyone should be tapping into their network, looking at who you know, who can help you, look for other Latino businesses,” she said. “Maybe they have advice to give you.”
Or, she said, a job.