Unemployment rate falling in DeKalb

By Meghan Harms

The economy in DeKalb is getting better, but we still have work to do.

The unemployment rate in DeKalb dropped to 8.22 percent in December 2010, which is down from a high of 11.65 percent in January 2010, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

The year so far has shown that the trend of decreasing unemployment rates is continuing.

“In any economic recovery there will be ups and downs from month to month,” said Greg Rivara, communications manager for the Illinois Department of Employment Security, “You must look at long terms trends.”

The state, as a whole, is still below the national unemployment rate average. The past nine months have seen a trend of the unemployment rate decreasing.

“You can see the growth just by looking along the highways,” said Paul Kleppner, former director of the Office of Social Policy Research at NIU. “Many of those businesses were not there just a few years ago.”

The continued rise of the minimum wage each year from 2007-2010 has very little to do with the current economic status in Illinois, Kleppner said.

“It is an excuse made up by those who do not wish to pay it,” Kleppner said.

The fields in which job opportunities are available are numerous, according to Cindy Henderson, executive director of Career Services at NIU.

“There is a diverse pool of traditional industries and entrepreneurial opportunities that should excite all NIU students and recent graduates,” Henderson said.

Some students are concerned about the possibility of finding a job after college.

“I am kind of worried because I don’t know how long it will take to find a job and if I do get one if it will pay enough for me to live off of,” said junior psychology major Dustin Ferguson.