Twenty thousand people have just stopped looking for work.
Illinois Is Hemorrhaging Jobs and Taxpayers
The hits just keep
coming for Illinois. There hasn’t been a real budget in two years, the state is
on pace to rack up a backlog of $14 billion in unpaid bills by next summer,
and jobs and residents are vanishing.
In August, for the
fourth month in a row, Illinois’ labor force numbers were on the downswing, to
the tune of about 8,200 jobs. But the situation has also been so dire for so
long that almost 20,000 have simply given up looking for work. This number,
according to Illinois Policy Institute, was the sole reason
that the unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 percent from 5.8 percent in August.
sector was hit the hardest, with a loss of 4,400 jobs—more than half of all the
manufacturing jobs lost in 2016 in total. Worse yet, those jobs that
disappeared in one month nearly equaled the 4,600 manufacturing jobs created in
Illinois in the past seven years combined. In addition, the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) data
showed losses in financial activities (2,600 jobs lost); educational and health
services (1,900); construction (1,700); trade, transportation, and utilities
(800); and other services (1,400).
Meanwhile, Illinois is losing one resident to outmigration every five
minutes, the worst rate of any other state in the region.
Enough is enough.
Tell Speaker Madigan and his supporters in the Legislature that we must get on
board with Gov. Rauner’s turnaround agenda before it’s too late. Until then,
Illinois is only going to continue losing businesses, jobs, and taxpayers to
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the country as a whole gained jobs around 150,000 jobs in August, but fresh data from the state Department of Employment Security says Illinois managed to lose about 8,200 jobs. What’s more, the state says nearly 20,000 people gave up looking for work.
The state reports some sectors saw increases last month. Professional and business services gained 2,000 jobs, while the leisure and hospitality sector added around 3,400 positions.
However, education and health services lost 1,900 workers, financial activities lost about 2,600 and manufacturing lost an alarming 4,400. To put that in perspective, the number of manufacturing jobs that vanished in a single month nearly equals the 4,600 manufacturing jobs created in Illinois over the past seven years.
The state’s latest jobs report underscores the need for legislators to finally put partisan politics aside and get serious about shoring up Illinois’ weak economy. Governor Rauner is still pushing his commonsense turnaround agenda, but legislative leaders are still pushing back, opposing the administration’s efforts to pass workplace reforms in areas like workers’ compensation and much-needed tort reform.
Illinois is broke. We haven’t had a real state budget in two years. Both sides came together this summer and passed a stopgap spending plan to prevent the state from shutting down, but we’re still billions of dollars in debt.
According to the bipartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, under Illinois’ stopgap budget, which covers spending through the first half of 2017, expenses will outstrip revenues by $7.8 billion. Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger has warned that state government could face a backlog of $10 billion in unpaid bills by December.
We need to tell Speaker Madigan and other obstructionist members of the Legislature that enough is enough. Illinois is not only on the wrong track, but it’s looking more and more like we’re on a runaway train. This is not going to end well.
We’re going to continue to lose businesses, and lose jobs, to other states—states that aren’t billions of dollars in the red, states that aren’t taxing and regulating employers to death, states that actually make it easier for entrepreneurs to start businesses and for those businesses to grow and, in the process, create the kinds of jobs that makes the whole economy stronger and more robust.