In his recent op-ed, “How to rebuild America,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel boasts that Chicago’s “investments” in public schools, community colleges and infrastructure improvements have put Chicagoans back to work.
Here’s what he said:
“The strength of these investments is proven in the number of people we’re putting back to work: Chicago is first in the nation in terms of increase in employed residents, and for several months we have led the nation in year-over-year employment increases. We added 42,500 residents to the workforce in the past year alone — 8,000 more than the next highest U.S. city.”
But the most recent data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics paints a different picture. Here are Chicago’s employment gains during the past year:
Houston created five times as many jobs, in percentage terms, as Chicago. San Francisco, almost four times more. New York, two times as many. Only Philadelphia, Detroit and Miami created fewer jobs.
And the Chicago metropolitan area’s unemployment rate still stands at 8.3 percent, higher than the national average.
The city has many problems, all of which the mayor ignores in his marketing campaign. Besides low employment, violence is up, the settlement of the Chicago Teachers Union strike was a step back, the city’s finances are struggling and people are fleeing the city.
Emanuel is pitching his recent efforts in Chicago as a model for the rest of the country. But Chicagoans would rather the mayor focus on the many ills of Chicago, like the lack of jobs, before he declares the city to be an example of prosperity.