A northern Illinois job-training organization calls 2013 a frustrating year for reducing unemployment in the region.
The Workforce Connection, which consists of a wide range of of state and federally funded programs, assists job-seekers and employers in Winnebago, Boone and Stephenson Counties.
Spokesman John Strandin says like the rest of the nation, growth in hiring remains painfully slow.
"While things, year-to-year, may be better than they were a year ago, they're only slightly better. What's frustrating is that we haven't seen the growth that we may have expected," Strandin said.
Despite the slow growth and stubbornly high unemployment, Strandin says jobs can be found in areas like manufacturing and health-care. He also says as 2014 rolls around, areas like transportation might provide opportunities.
"It's such a great location for getting products to the market. We have the rail-hub in Rochelle. We have the Rockford airport," Strandin said.
However, Strandin notes that they continue to hear from employers that there are not enough skilled-workers to fill those positions. He says that's why in 2014, there will once again be a greater emphasis placed on providing educational tools for local residents seeking out firms that are hiring.