Best Ill. Job Prospects In Manufacturing, Medical


“Job creation has been relatively strong in the last two years,” said John Challenger, CEO of the Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

Even so, Illinois is like the rest of the nation: still staggering back from the recession 2007-09. Statewide unemployment hasn’t dropped below 8 percent since 2008.

The jobless rate in Illinois fell from 9.3 percent in December 2011 to 8.7 percent in December 2012, the most recent month for which data is available from the Illinois Department of Employment Security. But the state’s jobless rate in November 2007, the month before the recession started, was 5 percent.

The hole the country’s been trying to climb out of was so deep that, “bringing it back to normal has been a slow, year-by-year digging-out process,” Challenger said.

Experts say Illinois’ biggest job-creator in 2013 could be the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which is expected to ratchet up the demand for a wide range of jobs.

Hospitals may need to add staff in positions that require everything form a four-year degree plus experience to entry-level jobs that require little education.

St. John’s Hospital in Springfield has been hiring nurse navigators – experienced registered nurses who help patients literally navigate their way through treatment, answering questions before and after, said Pat Schulz, head of the hospital’s human resources department. The pay is $22 to $30 an hour.

The hospital hires about 140 RNs a year for a variety of positions around the hospital, many of the straight out of school, she said. But the new ones don’t head straight to the hospital floor on their own, instead spending three to four months in additional training as nurse residents.

But the hospital, like others, anticipates hiring lower-wage, lower skill positions, too. “If our beds are full, then we need more housekeepers, we need more food service,” Schulz said.

Manufacturing job growth also should continue this year, job-market watchers say.

Even with decades of Rust Belt exodus, companies that make things in Illinois – auto parts, heavy machinery, medical devices, hardware and more _ have been a relatively steady job provider in an uneven recovery.

Over the past year, Illinois’ manufacturing job base grew 2.4 percent, from 579,900 jobs in December 2011 to 594,100 last month. One in every 9.7 non-farming jobs in Illinois is in manufacturing.

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Posted by on Mar 1st, 2013 and filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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