Although unemployment rates in the U.S. have seemed to gone down for several years, it is still a big issue that has has been prevalent in states all over the nation, including Illinois.

By Jennifer Castillo and Ana Martyniouk

Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2019.


  Photo taken by Jennifer Castillo


The consequences of unemployment, especially long-term, can be extremely serious; not only does it affect the nation’s overall economy, but also the unemployed individuals, themselves. It can often be detrimental and take a huge toll on someone because not having a job can definitely be financially, emotionally, and psychologically destructive.

The importance of having a job is much more significant than we might actually think and it certainly extends beyond a salary. Research has suggested that productive work has been a key element for one’s happiness and wellbeing.

On the other hand, persistent and lingering unemployment can potentially lead to things such as illness, depression and even suicide.

The World Happiness Report explains that those who were employed evaluated the quality of their lives much higher on average when compared to those who were unemployed. This study found that those individuals who were unemployed reported to have around 30 percent more negative emotional experiences in their everyday lives than those who were not.

Further research has also supported this claim that happiness can be heavily influenced by the non-monetary aspects of employment, which include certain things like being able to establish social status and relations, daily structure, as well as having goals. Although this research does not focus too much on the idea that money results in happiness, being able to earn money is necessary in order to provide for the individual’s own personal needs and have some sustainability.


Photo taken by Ana Martyniouk


Rudy Carranza of the West Garfield Park neighborhood in Chicago Illinois, lost his job as an HR assistant at an engineering company in Oak Brook, Illinois in November 2018. He has been fighting to get a new job ever since. “Finding a job nowadays is not easy.” said Carranza, 28. “There is a lot of skill sets needed for a job that I did for four years and I still struggle to find a new job.” Rudy and many others find themselves in these type of struggles throughout all of Illinois.

Connor Quinn, 23-year-old marketing intern from Schaumburg, Illinois, found himself unemployed last summer due to intense competition. Even with his bachelor’s degree in Marketing, he still found himself struggling to find employment.  

“For almost 6 months I was unemployed and searching for jobs. Even with my degree I felt helpless. Finding a job is a hassle and I feel very lucky to have a job now.”

Quinn also offered a word of advice for those who are struggling with unemployment,

“I recommended to apply to as many places as possible. Do not stop applying even when you feel like you constantly are getting rejected, keep applying,” he said.

Ismael Mendez, 32, is yet another Illinois resident who faces unemployment problems. Having to take care of a family has been a struggle for Ismael ever since his unemployment in February 2019.

“Unemployment is a major problem around here and it is something that should not go unnoticed. Many jobs keep going away to different countries and myself and many others are in similar situations.” he shared.



In February of 2019, the state’s unemployment rate was +0.5 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for the month; the rate in Illinois was at 4.3 percent while the national rate was at 3.8 percent. As we can see from the graph, the Illinois unemployment rate is down by -0.1 percentage points since the last year in February of 2018,  which was 4.4 percent.



The counties with the highest rates of unemployment are in counties are Cook, Pulaski, Ford, and Wayne, among countless others.  

For any individuals who are interested in moving to Illinois or interested in moving to a different city in Illinois, here are the cities with the lowest unemployment rates in the state. As can be seen, the population and the unemployment numbers are in good standing, so in these cities residents could have a much easier time finding employment.

Given the importance of unemployment in the U.S., it is crucial to try and and understand the causes of unemployment and how it can affect communities and the nation, as a whole. It is good to be informed of and even involved of organizations that can provide helpful resources to help the unemployed find jobs in different fields.

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