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The number of Evanston unemployed fell sharply in October versus September, according to data recently released from the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). 

About 2,262 residents were unemployed in October, down about 1,150 from September.  However, current Evanston unemployment figures are double last year’s level.

The official unemployment rate for Evanston was 6.3% in October, down from 9.2% in September. September’s unemployment rate was revised up 40 basis points from 8.8% originally reported. 

The official unemployment rate, U3, is a narrow measure of unemployment. U3 defines unemployed as people who are willing and able to work and have actively sought employment within the past four weeks. 

U6, a broader measure of unemployment that includes discouraged and under-employed workers, is much higher but not reported for individual cities. For the total U.S., U6 was 12.1% in October, or 520 basis points higher than the official rate of 6.9%.

Adding to the decline in the Evanston labor force in October versus last year (about 2,400 people) to the official (U3) number of unemployed residents (2,262), may give a truer picture of the number of people out of work in Evanston.

On a positive note, fewer Evanston residents were unemployed in October than during the peak months of the great recession 10 years ago. The number of unemployed people in Evanston rose steadily through June 2009, remained above 3,000 for more than a year, and peaked at 3,590 in July 2010.