Tackling Rockford’s Unemployment Rate
“Rockford has a long history of riding the waves of U.S. economic booms and busts. It was founded by pioneers that established its entrepreneurial spirit. Later, its rise as a manufacturing powerhouse mirrored the ascension of the U.S. on the world stage. Today, like much of the nation, it is searching for a new direction for its economy” (Merrick, “For Rockford, This Downturn Won’t Be the First”).
As a city with one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, Rockford must make strides to change its economic mindset and approach as well as moving away from its deep rooted dependence on manufacturing to improve its economy and employment rate. In this paper we will examine Rockford’s economic history, analyze some causes of the escalation in unemployment, and present recommendations of what could be implemented to address the problems. Additionally, we will examine the pros and cons, as well as the feasibility, of the recommendations proposed.
2. The Economic History of Rockford
Rockford owes its establishment to Kent, Blake, and Haight. The New Englanders, Germanicus Kent and Thatcher Blake, came from Galena, Illinois and established a settlement on the west side of the Rock River in 1834. Shortly after development started on the west side of the river, the east side of the river started to be developed by Daniel Shaw Haight.
About 20 years after development started in the area, Rockford became incorporated as a city in April 1852. As the population grew due to the influx of Irish and Swedish immigrants, so too did Rockford’s economic condition which was rooted in manufacturing.
The seeds to establish Rockford were sowed in 1834, when a pair of in northern Illinois. Daniel Shaw Haight, began developing the east side. Rockford was incorporated in April 1852, the year it was reached by the railroad line from Chicago. By the mid-1800s, waves of Irish and Swedish immigrants joined the community....