Nonfarm payrolls in Illinois remained virtually flat over the
month of January, with the state adding only 200 jobs, an increase of 0.003
That’s according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, which
released its monthly report on changes in the Illinois labor market March 12, in
conjunction with the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The industries that saw growth in employment were: leisure and
hospitality, up 0.65 percent (+4,000 jobs); financial activities, up 0.33
percent (+1,300 jobs); education and health services, up 0.18 percent (+1,700
jobs); and manufacturing, up 0.02 percent (+100 jobs).
Meanwhile, the other six major industries saw payrolls decline. The industry
sectors with payroll declines were: construction, down 0.49 percent (-1,100
jobs); information, down 0.42 percent (-400 jobs), other services, down 0.24
percent (-600 jobs); trade, transportation, and utilities, down 0.17 percent
(-2,100 jobs); professional and business services, down 0.19 percent (-1,800
jobs); and government, down 0.11 percent (-900 jobs).
Lagging the nation
Sluggish jobs growth continues to plague Illinois, which once again lagged the
rest of the nation in January. Although Illinois employment remained stagnant,
the rest of the United States added 409,000 jobs in January (+0.27 percent).
Additionally, the labor forces of Illinois and the rest of the U.S. continue to
be on opposite trajectories.
Since the end of the recession,
Illinois’ labor force has declined by more than 137,000 individuals, a drop of
2.1 percent. Meanwhile, the rest of the U.S. labor force has been growing during
its slow, steady recovery from the recession. The rest of the nation’s labor
force grew by more than 7.7 million over the same time, an increase of 5.3
Although Illinois has created relatively few employment
opportunities, the unemployment rate continues to fall, dropping to 4.8 percent
from 4.9 percent over the month of January. In most states, employment growth
outpaced labor force growth, which caused falling unemployment rates. But in
Illinois, the number of job seekers has been declining due to a shrinking labor
force.[to top of second column]
Good news, bad news
In spite of several lingering issues within Illinois’ labor market,
this month’s jobs report did have a piece of good news, which came
from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revising previous estimations to
new benchmarks. The updated data reflect more positive but
still-sluggish employment growth over the past two years in
The December 2015 to December 2016 numbers were
revised to show 0.6 percent growth (up from 0.3 percent) and the
revised December 2016 to December 2017 growth was revised up to 0.7
percent from 0.5 percent.
Despite these favorable revisions, Illinois still stands in stark
contrast to the rest of the U.S. economy.
If Illinois is to reverse its current trajectory, the state needs
policies that will incentivize investment and growth, and inspire
confidence in job seekers to stay in the labor market.
This does not include considering yet another income tax hike.
Elected officials and gubernatorial candidates alike have been
touting their support for enacting a progressive income tax system
in Illinois. Given what Illinoisans know about the rates put forth
in House Bill 3522, a progressive income tax would constitute a tax
hike of 21 percent, and increase tax bills for Illinoisans earning
as little as $17,300.
Meanwhile, the 2017 income tax hike is still being felt throughout
the state’s economy, and is expected to shrink the state’s economy.
A progressive income tax hike can be expected to have similarly
harmful effects. This progressive income tax proposal would likely
drag down the state’s economy down even further, resulting in
declining investment and fewer opportunities available to families
who are trying to make ends meet.
Instead of saddling taxpayers with a higher income tax burden,
lawmakers need to rein in the growth of government spending with a
spending cap. State Sen. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park, and state Rep.
Allen Skillicorn, R-East Dundee, have both filed constitutional
amendments tying growth in state spending to growth in the state’s
economy: SJRCA 21 and HJRCA 38.
Adopting these proposals will provide certainty for businesses while
averting the need for future tax hikes, thus putting the state on a
path toward healthier economic growth.
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