Illinois Job Growth Lags Nation
The latest report from the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) shows the state ended July with an unemployment rate of 5.8 percent, down from 5.9 percent in June. Illinois also gained about 1,900 nonfarm payroll jobs, but job growth continues to trail behind other states. IDES Director Jeff Mays said if Illinois employment growth had matched the rest of the nation this year, “Illinois would have added 40,000 more jobs by now.”
That trend was confirmed by a corresponding report from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). According to the DOL, Illinois’s rate of job growth in the past year was both slower than surrounding states and last among neighboring states in per-capita job growth. So, while the report shows that Illinois gained 50,000 jobs over the past year, our neighboring state Indiana gained 64,000 – almost 30% more – despite having only half the population.
“F” doesn’t mean “Friendly” for small businesses
According to an annual survey released this month, Illinois gets an “F” on its small-businesses report card. The fourth annual Thumbtack.com, which polls nearly 18,000 small business owners across the country, gave Illinois its worst possible grade, tied with three other states: California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Each of our neighboring states made out much better, ranging from a “C+” (Iowa and Kentucky) to a high of “B+” (Indiana).
Another report on Illinois’ economy indicates that thousands of Illinoisans found job opportunities, in other states. The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI), a public policy think tank, cites figures from the Internal Revenue Service. IPI reports, “…in 2012, Illinois lost more taxpayers and taxpayer wealth to a greater number of states than ever before.” The Institute’s analysis indicates that nearly 67,000 taxpayers and their dependents left Illinois taking with them $3.7 billion in annual income.
The reports are among many revealed in recent years and months that bolster the claim that Illinois must do more to improve its business/jobs climate. Numerous reforms to ease state regulations and lower the cost of hiring were proposed by Republican lawmakers in recent years and in 2015. The year began with hope that a new governor, elected on an argument that change was needed, would usher in a revitalized Illinois economy; however, most of the proposed changes ran into partisan opposition.