CHICAGO (CBS) — Another indication the economy is improving is that fewer people are looking for jobs.

The rate is 6.4 percent here in the Chicago metro area, compared to 11.4 percent at the height of the recession.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports there’s one sector apparently booming again: manufacturing.

It’s been a struggle for Norman Hemphill. Being out of work for more than a year is something he says he didn’t anticipate after graduating college.

Hemphill says he was expecting that, “it was going to help me get a job afterwards and hopefully work in something my field but that didn’t happen.”

So Hemphill came to the Chicago Urban League job fair on Wednesday. Last year, there was a long line here waiting to get in. Today, plenty of room for everyone and more employers, too, looking for workers.

“That means people who are looking have a better chance of getting a job this year than they did last year,” said Shari Runner, interim president and CEO of the Urban League.

Including the manufacturing sector.

Loren Dinneen of the 1000 Jobs jobs campaign says the Chicago area has 30 thousand manufacturing positions now open.

“You’re talking about anything from assembling work and packaging work to CNC operators, wielders, quality assurance people,” he said.

Some of those jobs require specific training, so the 1,000 jobs campaign connects potential employees training programs.

Norman Hemphill promises he’s all in.

The Chicago Urban League had 70 employers at this year’s job fair including manufacturing companies.

If you’re interested in one of the 30 thousand manufacturing jobs in Chicago area or a training program, visit

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