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Unemployment rate up in McHenry County

A new report shows McHenry County’s unemployment rate edged up slightly from a year ago.

That’s no surprise to Amir Fattahian of Algonquin, who has been out of work for nearly three years.”The job market is not very good right now,” he said.

The county’s unemployment rate was 9.7 percent in January, up from 9.5 percent in January 2012, according to preliminary data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

The jobless rate in Crystal Lake was 9.1 percent compared with 9 percent in 2012, said IDES spokesman Greg Rivara. Other jobless numbers showed Algonquin at 8.7 percent, up from 8.1 percent a year ago; McHenry, 9.5 percent, down from 9.6 percent; and Lake in the Hills, 9.2 percent, up from 8.6 percent. Carpentersville’s jobless rate jumped to 15.2 percent in January, compared with 14.5 percent in 2012.

In Kane County, the jobless rate increased from 10.2 percent in January 2012 to 10.6 percent in January 2013.

Fattahian, who has a background is in physics, had been pullng down six figures until he was laid off from his research and development job in 2007. He has had a couple jobs since in California and Wisconsin, but nothing lasted.

He has been out of full-time work for nearly three years.

On Thursday he was in a training program to be a car salesman in Arlington Heights. “I don’t know if it will work out or not,” he said.

“It’s 100 percent commission,” he said, noting that most of his recent opportunities have been commission-based, including a recent stint in insurance sales.

“A lot of people with a lot of education and experience are in the same boat as me,” Fattahia said. “There have not been too many interviews, maybe a handful,” he said.

He said prospective employers say he’s overqualified. “I’m over 50. The age factor is a huge part of it. But I can’t just sit here and do nothing.”

Fattahian said he continues to visit the career resource center at the McHenry County Workforce Network in Woodstock. “I can’t just sit here and do nothing,” he said.

Fattahia said his wife, who never worked when he was employed, has taken a part-time job at a Costco. He said most of his savings are gone, and the family is using food stamps.

“If it wasn’t for my 5-year-old daughter, I don’t know if I would exist,” he said.

“It’s really, really difficult,”

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