Unemployment in Illinois by County

By Tony Mazzarri and Cassandra Roman


(Air Force File Photo)

Dominic Flisk of south suburban Oak Lawn lost his job at a local mechanic’s shop in August of 2018. And although unemployment rates are low nationally and in Illinois, Flisk and others in his situation find themselves fighting an uphill battle to find a job. “So far it has been a struggle,” said Flisk, 25. “Certain places will not hire based on simple qualifications. Applying to a plethora of businesses at once seems to work well and get the best results and also affords you options.”

Unemployment is a tough thing to go through, and something that we’ve seen ebb and flow throughout the years in this country. Despite the fact that U.S. unemployment rates have decreased for several years, the numbers still paint a grim picture of Americans who have either lost their jobs or can’t find work. There are 102 counties in the state of Illinois, each with its own individual unemployment rates showing exactly how many are unemployed across the state.

Map by Tony Mazzarri, data by the State of Illinois data portal

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The Growth of Kansai Airport As Seen in Google Earth

by Tony Mazzarri

Osaka is Japan’s second city. Second to Tokyo on many fronts, but still home to a large number of businesses and a major center for trade. However, for a period of time, many across Japan felt that Tokyo was consolidating far too much business and political power in the country. Many companies that were founded in other regions relocated to Tokyo. Osaka and other cities in its region were desperate to compete with the capital, although one front they were failing on was air travel. The airport they had at the time was inadequate for the needs of the region.

A new and larger airport was needed, but the dense urban developments in the region made it impossible to find any new land to build on. And with thousands of people having protested the construction of Narita Airport near Tokyo after losing their land, officials were wary of having a repeat in the Kansai region. So rather than using land already available and occupied, they instead decided to simply create new land in the bay to build the airport on.

Here is a timelapse of the airport’s construction created using Google Earth Engine.

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The initial portion of Kansai International Airport was completed in 1994, with an expansion that was finished in 2007. In September 2018, a powerful typhoon heavily damaged the only bridge leading to the airport after the storm sent a tanker ship crashing into the bridge, and the storm also caused severe flooding in one of the terminals and on a runway. This stranded at least 8000 people at the airport. The train portion of the bridge reopened shortly after, but the road portion sustained further damage, with only express buses allowed in one relatively undamaged lane and all other types of traffic are banned. It is believed that, given all the damage sustained, full restoration will take several months.


NHL Salaries: The Highest-Paid Central Division Players in the 2018-19 Season

Athletes for teams within major leagues of a sport are paid extremely well for playing sports. Many who follow sports are well aware of this, but for those who don’t, consider this article by Fox Sports which highlighted the highest-paid athletes around the world in 2017.

Clearly, the NBA dominates this list, with eight of their players (including LeBron James and Kevin Durant) earning tens of millions of dollars. Soccer players are also paid very well, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi both earning close to $100 million USD for both playing on their European teams as well as through highly-lucrative endorsement deals. Strangely absent from this list, however, were hockey players. Hockey is a worldwide sport, most commonly played in North America, Europe, and Russia, but the highest earners for the sport are missing from the Fox Sports list on the highest paid athletes in the world.

With the 2018-2019 NHL season well underway, here is a look at how much some of the league’s top players in each team in the Central Division are earning according to Hockey-Reference.com.

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Besides being the highest-paid in the Central Division, these players are also some of the highest-paid in the entire NHL. Within the United States, the highest salaries tend to be around the $12 million range, with a few earning around $13 million.


Chicago Pride Parade Attendance In Numbers

by Tony Mazzarri

The Chicago Pride Parade has been an LGBTQ institution in the city for nearly 50 years. According to data provided by Chicago Pride Parade, attendance has risen sharply since 1985. That year, 35,000 people attended. 5 years later, in 1990, attendance nearly tripled to 100,000. By 2000, that number would triple again to 350,000.

Fast forward to 2014, and the numbers of attendance have risen to over 1 million, becoming one of the largest LGBTQ pride parades in the world. For the estimated numbers of attendance for each year listed, click the chart below.

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Chicago’s Kitchen Nightmares – 20 Restaurants That Failed Health Inspections

by Tony Mazzarri

Chicago has a reputation of being one of America’s great food cities. However, for all of the great eateries this city has to offer, there are also those which have failed the city’s health inspections for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, these often tend to be for disgusting reasons. And in some cases, the violations committed are completely avoidable.

According to the City of Chicago’s data portal, close to 34,000 health inspections have been failed. Here is a map of 20 restaurants which failed health inspections in recent years according to the City of Chicago’s data portal available at data.cityofchicago.org.


Transit Oriented Developments: Helpful or Hurtful?

by Tony Mazzarri & Christianne Lariosa

The corner of Clark Street and Belmont Avenue was once a city block in Chicago’s Lakeview area similar to many others in the neighborhood. Low-rise two story structures built decades ago contained a hookah lounge, an Eritrean/Ethiopian restaurant, a lingerie shop and a Dunkin’ Donuts, among other businesses that came and went over the years.

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10 High-Rises That Will Change Chicago

The northern half of the Chicago skyline, with construction cranes rising above the nearly-completed One Bennett Park (Photo by Tony Mazzarri)

Chicago is a city that is seeing a continuously-growing skyline. In the last few decades, there has been an increase in construction in and around the downtown area. The neighborhoods are becoming more dense, and the buildings constructed end up changing the entire city’s skyline as they continue to rise. Currently, we are experiencing a construction “boom,” one which is also seeing some of the tallest buildings being constructed in nearly a decade, and one which is also seeing the city’s skyline and high rises expanding west and south, beyond what we typically consider Downtown Chicago.

Here is a map of ten high rises proposed and under construction that are going to change the skyline for both the city and the individual neighborhoods they’re located in, as well as changing what goes on at street-level.

Map by Tony Mazzarri. Information on high rises from Curbed.com’s list of 47 high rises under construction in Chicago and Curbed.com’s article on the One Chicago Square proposal.


Google Trends: North Korea

By Tony Mazzarri

In the past year, relations between North Korea and the United States have been anything but positive. Tensions have particularly flared in the last few months, as a war of words between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump escalated to the point of name-calling from both leaders and one attempting to engage in what some might call nuclear button envy.

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