There are times when you can feel that something is awry, but you cannot always put your finger on it. In this case, it is the higher than national average unemployment rate in Illinois, in general, and specifically in Cook County. Cook County has experienced similar stubbornly high unemployment which both directly and indirectly affects the housing market. It is not too surprising then that Cook County and Illinois, for that matter, are typically pretty high on the tally board for foreclosure activity. No jobs, no ability to buy a house or much less, keep the house you are in!!!
Based on an analysis from Scripps Howard News Service, Cook County lost approximately 89,100 manufacturing jobs in the past decade, more than any other county in the United States in this timeperiod except for Los Angeles County, which saw 113,000 jobs disappear. For those of you who are wondering, Detroit’s Wayne County lost 84,000 manufacturing jobs. Yes, all those in Cook County can say, in unison, OUCH!
There are a number of reasons for this, including Cook County's extremely high tax rates (as well as multiple increases over the past few years), as well as nasty mix of painful recession, heavy global competition and rising production costs.
Granted, a pro-manufacturing perspective by local government would help, but is not going to cure all problems. Cook County like so many other counties throughout the Northern portion of the United States will likely continue to suffer. Hopefully, the growing investment in technology companies as well as the increasing recognition of Illinois and other Midwestern states as Silicon Prairie, offset some of this loss going forward. Time will tell.
Based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding the 10 biggest-gaining counties, Texas was far and away the leader with six counties, followed by one county each in Nevada, Colorado, Indiana and California.
Michael Hobbs, PahRoo Appraisal & Consultancy