The mission of the Cook County Chamber of Commerce is to be the representative voice of county for-profit and non-profit businesses in working to improve the county economy and to address pressing county socioeconomic issues.
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Unemployment Rates-2014

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In September, the unemployment rate for Cook County declined to 3.2 percent. That's not healthy.

While lower generally is considered better where  unemployment rates are concerned, that's not true when your rate gets as low as 3.2 -- and especially when it swings from a high of 8 percent or more earlier in the year. That instability suggests an economy of extreme seasonal fluctuations, and that is not good for employers or their workers.

Generally, an unemployment rate of about 5 percent or a little higher is considered "full employment" -- the sweet spot for an economy. At 5 percent unemployment, jobs are plentiful enough to encourage workers to seek out jobs that pay more or that better align with their long-term goals or with their preferred lifestyle.  Too, there are enough workers seeking employment that businesses who need to replace or add workers have little difficulty finding suitable candidates.

At 3.2 percent unemployment, pretty much all the most desirable workers have been taken, and businesses are left without sufficient potential workers to replace those who leave or to actually expand their workforce. Unemployment this low stifles economic innovation and growth.

So what you have in Cook County is an economy that goes from two few jobs for the available workers in the winter to too many jobs for the available workers in the summer.