Author Archives: jcasti27

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.

The 20 Best Locations In The World For Bike Riding

View A Map Of The 20 Best Locations in the World To Go Bike Riding

Biking has always been popular, but in some places more than others. There are many different reasons why people ride bikes; some do it as a means of transportation, while others do it as a way to exercise, or it could even just be a hobby of theirs.

These particular locations that are pinpointed on the map (linked above) have made the list as some of the best spots for biking around the world, and not just for any reason. These places, including Montreal, Rio de Janeiro, and Tokyo have made the list because of various criteria regarding bike-friendliness, along with bike paths and routes, and they were also highly ranked for others things as well, such as the scenery.

Bike-riding seems to be extremely prominent in Europe, with the most of the locations being in that region.  Within this region, we can see that Spain, France, Netherlands, and Germany are home to several of the best biking locations, with each of the countries having three.

If you like biking or are interested in visiting any of these locations from this, you should definitely consider taking a bike ride there!

The Evolution of Dubai: 1984-2016


Dubai 1984 (Google Earth)


Dubai 2016 (Google Earth)


If you take a close look at these two images, you can see that they seem to be very different. The top image shows what Dubai looked like in 1984 and the bottom is showing what Dubai looks like as of more recent, in 2016.

For many centuries, Dubai was a small fishing village and trading port, as well as very poor. In a single generation though, what was once this humble fishing settlement completely transformed into a popular metropolis and what is now considered to be one of the most luxurious places in the world. The major turning point for the city was the discovery of oil in the region in 1966, which was a key factor in Dubai’s progression and has helped the city become what it is today.

The modernization of this city was led by an oil-funded expansion plan during the 1970’s, which contributed to its era of industrialization and in turn, boosted their economy. Also, there was a “real estate/building boom” during the 2000’s that helped increase their wealth (along with tourism) and several big projects were created; it has around 200 artificial islands and has become home to one of the busiest airports and largest malls in the world, the Burj Al-Arab (the only 7-star hotel), and the Burj Khalifa (world’s tallest man-made structure).

It is incredible to believe that this place, which started off as a very underdeveloped place for its time, especially compared to other cities around the world, has become extremely advanced and urbanized in such a short period of time.


Below is a link to a before-and-after comparison photo slider of Dubai in 1984 to 2016:

Popular Streaming Services and Trending Shows

Netflix and Hulu Are The Two  Biggest Streaming Services In The U.S., But Have A Shockingly Drastic Difference in Popularity

Hulu and Netflix are both streaming services that provide content such as movies and shows and have become extremely popular in recent years. Netflix has over 50 million subscribers in the U.S. and although movies used to be their main attraction, original TV series have taken over. Hulu became popular for showing programs from other major networks such as NBC, ABC, and Fox and has 25 million subscribers.

According to a source, Hulu seems to be the second most popular streaming service in the U.S., behind Netflix. It used to have a free tier until 2016; ever since then, they’ve had a monthly base price of $7.99, but the price has dropped down to $5.99 this February. This is a pretty good price, but its major downside is that it’s not ad-free. The price is a little higher if you want don’t want to deal with commercials during a show, at a monthly price of $11.99.


(Google Trends)


As of 2019, Netflix’s standard definition is $8.99 per month (one stream at a time) and high definition is $12.99 (two screens simultaneously). If you want to do four screens at a time with Ultra HD, it’s $15.99 a month. One of the biggest advantages of Netflix though is that it has no commercials during or between content.

Regarding content, Netflix has decreased its movie content and has been providing more original TV-series, as well as reruns, which have become very popular for them. Hulu also has its own original content, but has mostly shows that air on other television networks among the ones that were mentioned previously. They both seem to be pretty similar in many of their features, but although Hulu seems to have the better prices, Netflix seems to be more popular with the content it provides, which more people are willing to pay for. It can also be seen in results in this chart from the past twelve months, with Netflix having way higher levels of interests than Hulu.


“The Handmaid’s Tale” Was Very Popular Not Too Long Ago, But Seems To Have Gone Downhill, In Comparison to “Stranger Things”

In 2017, Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” was the first streaming show to be awarded an Emmy for the category of Outstanding Drama, but it is also believed that it was probably the least watched winner. It is believed that Netflix’s shows had a higher number of viewers than The Handmaid’s Tale, especially since Netflix had way more subscribers than  Hulu during that time; Netflix had over 50 million subscribers, while Hulu had around 12 million subscribers.

Even though Netflix was one of the top overall performers during that year’s Emmy’s, the streaming service surprisingly fell short of winning this prestigious award. It had three nominees in the category, including “House of Cards,” “The Crown” and “Stranger Things.”


(Google Trends)


“The Handmaid’s Tale” had better ratings than Netflix’s, scoring 92 out of 100 for its average of reviews from 40 TV critics. Netflix’s “Stranger Things” had average ratings of 76, falling short of “The Handmaid’s Tale” average. Findings from the past twelve months though, have shown the opposite of this. When comparing the percentage of interest for both shows, “Stranger Things” has a significantly higher percentage than “The Handmaid’s Tale,” with its highest difference being 100 to >1, as shown in the chart above. 

Percentage of Free Throws Made by Former NBA All-Time Star Michael Jordan During 10 Seasons

Percentage of Michael Jordan’s Free-Throws (1984-95)

Former basketball player Michael Jordan has been known to make many shots during his NBA career. He is considered to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, on the Chicago Bulls team and in the sport of basketball. MJ has played 15 seasons of basketball and 13 of them are considered to be part of the top 20 seasons, according to a statistical analysis. Continue reading

Practice Story

Pat Quinn photo
Gov. Pat Quinn talks about MAP grants at DePaul University. (Photo by Josclynn Brandon)

Editor’s note: This story was originally posted on Dec. 12, 2012 and is housed at

By Bob Smith

Gov. Pat Quinn visited DePaul University’s Loop campus on Wednesday to discuss how pension reform is harming the Monetary Award Program (MAP) college scholarships and access to higher education in Illinois.

“This is so important to our state, not only in the past, but certainly now and in the future,” Quinn said.
“We want everyone to have the opportunity to go to college that has the ability to go to college.”

MAP grants are need-based college scholarships that allow merit students who are in need across the state and do not need to be repaid by the student. Quinn said that due to cutbacks and having to pay more money in the pension amount, almost 18,000 students lost their MAP grant scholarships this year.

Continue reading