A new data snapshot is out, showing Illinois, by the numbers, over the last three full years. It's the American Community Survey from the U. S. Census. Their liaison at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is Sue Ebetsch, who is director of the Illinois State Data Center. Interesting information; now, what do you do with it?
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“I think you use it to make decisions about what's going on in your community, what you need to improve, what you can do to improve it,” says Ebetsch, citing “police protection or planning or even to encourage companies to come because you’ve got good educational attainment, you’ve got good home ownership levels, you’ve got good qualities of individuals.”
The three-year surveys replace the old “long form” decennial census form. Illinois home ownership slipped 1½ percentage points, and average home value dropped almost 15 percent, from the three years ending in 2009 to the three years ending in 2012. The numbers are 68.8 to 67.3 percent for home ownership and $207,300 to $179,900 for average value.
Still, there is reason for optimism, with Friday's news that the nation's unemployment rate is at a five-year low, at 7 percent for November. That does not necessarily account for, say, a bank president who lost his or her job and now works a shift at a convenience store.
“But remember that, as unemployment continues to drop down,” says DCEO spokesman Dave Roeder, “more of those discouraged workers tend to jump back into the market, and we would hope that they get jobs, and that that, over time, would continue to reduce that impact as well.”