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The number of Evanston unemployed decreased slightly in November from October, according to data recently released from the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). 

About 2,282 residents were unemployed in November compared with 2,522 in October.  October unemployment was revised up by 260 people from last month’s preliminary estimate of 2,260.  Current Evanston unemployment figures are double last year’s level.

The unemployment rate for Evanston was 6.3% in November, down from last month’s rate of 6.9%. October’s unemployment rate was revised up 60 basis points from 6.3% originally reported last month.  The unemployment rate was 2.5% last November.

Evanston’s unemployment rate is significantly lower than Chicago and slightly lower than the Illinois state average and Skokie.

This “headline” 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 which includes discouraged and under-employed workers, is much higher but not reported for individual cities.  For the total US, U6 was 12.0% in November or 530 basis points higher than headline (U3) rate of 6.7%.

Combining the decline in the Evanston Labor force in November versus last year (about 1,930 people) to the U3 number of unemployed residents (2,282), 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 November than during the peak months of the great recession 10 years ago.  The number of unemployed persons in Evanston rose steadily through June 2009, remained above 3,000 for more than a year, and peaked at 3,590 in July 2010.