Inside these posts: Unemployment

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Illinois employment could improve later this year

Employment in Illinois may accelerate in the last quarter of the year, according to one survey by a California-based staffing firm.

A report released Thursday by Robert Half International said a net 12 percent of Illinois executives expect to hire more employees in the fourth quarter, an increase of 11 percentage points over sentiment measured in the third quarter. The company’s survey showed 19 percent of executives planned to staff up, while 7 percent were expecting to cut staff. Subtracting the 7 percent from the 19 percent generated the net 12 percent figure.

The Illinois figure reflects rosier sentiment in the state than nationally. Robert Half’s broad survey indicated that a net 6 percent of executives plan to increase hiring in the fourth quarter, up three percentage points from the third quarter. Get the full story »

Caterpillar opens new Arkansas factory, hiring 600

Caterpillar Inc. has formally opened a $140 million road grader plant in central Arkansas, a factory that the company built even though the economy went through the floor after it announced its intentions.

Caterpillar laid off 24,000 workers worldwide last year, but the North Little Rock plant stayed on course. Company officials say highway projects funded by stimulus money helped build demand for the new road graders.

1 in 10 Illinois mortgage holders missed payments‎

Almost one in 10 of Illinois’ 1.7 million home mortgage loans were at least 30 days past due in the second quarter, a troubling sign that might spell more foreclosures in the future, according to new data released Thursday. Get the full story »

Construction strike skews Illinois jobless numbers

Illinois lost 20,200 jobs in July, but the numbers look worse than they are because of last month’s construction strike that shut down projects across the state.

The 19-day work stoppage ended around July 20 but not before the Illinois Department of Employment Security took its survey of the labor force. Get the full story »

Workplace fatalities decline with number of jobs

The number of workers who died on the job fell by 17 percent last year to the lowest level in nearly two decades, as workers logged fewer hours during the recession, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The 4,340 workplace fatalities recorded in 2009 was the smallest total since the Bureau of Labor Statistics first began tracking the data in 1992. It’s the second straight year that fatal work injuries have reached a historic low, following a 10 percent drop in 2008. Get the full story »

Weekly unemployment filings highest since Feb.

New applications for unemployment insurance rose last week to their highest level in almost six months, a sign that employers are still cutting their staffs. The Labor Department says first-time claims for jobless benefits edged up by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 484,000. Analysts had expected a drop. That’s the highest total since the week of Feb. 20.

Initial claims have now risen in three of the last four weeks and are close to their high point for the year of 490,000, reached in late January. The four-week average, which smooths volatility, soared by 14,250 to 473,500, also the highest since late February. Get the full story »

Global youth unemployment reaches new high

A United Nations agency warned of a “lost generation” as more young people across the world give up the search for work. It reported that of some 620 million young people ages 15 to 24 in the work force, about 81 million were unemployed at the end of 2009 — the highest level in two decades of record-keeping by the organization, which is based in Geneva.

Geithner: Unemployment could go higher

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Tuesday said the unemployment rate could rise for a couple of months before it goes down. “It’s possible you’re going to have a couple of months where it goes up,” he said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” show. “But what we expect to see … is an economy that’s gradually healing, of course we want to do what we can to reinforce that process.” Get the full story »

Illinois No. 5 in HIRE Act eligibility

Approximately 260,000 unemployed workers in Illinois are eligible for employment under the HIRE Act, according to a state-by-state breakdown released today by the Treasury Department, placing Illinois fifth in the nation for states with the largest number of workers whose employers could qualify for HIRE act tax exemptions and tax credits. Get the full story »

Jobless claims fell by 11,000 last week

New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly more than expected last week, government data showed on Thursday, offering a ray of hope for the anemic labor market recovery. Get the full story »

Obama urges Republicans to help pass jobless aid

President Obama on Monday called on Republicans to put aside politics and to join with Democrats in approving an extension of jobless benefits. Speaking from the Rose Garden, Obama repeated his recent themes, criticizing the Republicans for refusing to pass the $34 billion extension pending in the Senate.

Obama says economy going in right direction

President Barack Obama on Friday cast the state of the economy in upbeat terms, declaring that it was headed in the right direction even as employers slashed payrolls last month for the first time in half a year. The unemployment rate dropped to 9.5 percent. “To every American who is looking for work, I promise you we’re going to keep on doing everything that we can,” Obama said. “I will do everything in my power to help our economy create jobs and opportunities for all people.”

U.S. jobless claims rise, stoke recovery worries

New claims for state jobless benefits unexpectedly rose last week, while manufacturing activity and employment slowed in June, heightening fears the U.S. economic recovery is stalling.

The data on Thursday added to concerns over the risk of a double-dip recession, although many analysts said a renewed downturn was unlikely as the production side of the economy continues to expand, though less briskly than earlier. Get the full story »

GOP kills extension of jobless benefits again

For the third time in as many weeks, Senate Republicans on Wednesday successfully filibustered a bill to continue providing unemployment checks to millions of people who have been collecting benefits for more than six months.

But this time, the slimmed-down measure attracted two Republican votes, so its passage seems assured once a replacement fills the seat of Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), who died Monday.

Survey shows business activity is slowing

A monthly survey of members of the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago reported Wednesday a second month of slowing momentum.

The Chicago Business Barometer, a measure of manufacturing and non-manufacturing activity, slightly decreased from 59.7 to 59.1 in June. June marks the ninth consecutive month of a reading above 50, which indicates expansion. Get the full story »