NorthBridge Blog

Pat DuganIf you’re looking for another sign of how Illinois has strugg;ed in terms of job creation lately, you only have to look at the final IDES employment report for 2016.

The unemployment rate in Illinois rose to 5.7% in December, paced by an overall loss of 16,700 nonfarm payroll jobs in that month alone.

No area of the state was immune to the drop, including Chicago, which wasn’t impacted as hard as other areas such as Decatur, Rockford or St. Louis. But the overall trend isn’t rosy for anyone.

There are 6 million nonfarm jobs in the state, and Illinois has more of them by far than any other Midwest state. But other states have been surpassing Illinois in terms of creating manufacturing jobs, a key constituent of that category: Over the last 7 years, according to the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, Wisconsin created 41,300 manufacturing jobs, while Ohio created 76,700, Indiana created 90,800, and Michigan created 163,700 jobs. During the same period – which, of course, includes the impact of the recession – Illinois lost 1,600 manufacturing jobs.

Much of the political wrangling in Springfield is about created a more supportive climate for jobs creation in the state. Whether that’s by adopting right-to-work laws (a long shot, to be sure), loosening regulations, improving the education system or offering tax credits, something has to happen. Neighboring states have already taken many of those measures, and the results are plain.

Over the past two years, Illinois has seen more people move away than any other state in the country. They’re not all bound for the Sun Belt, though. A lot of them went across state lines to find better opportunities that just aren’t being fostered in Illinois.

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