2015 manufacturing scoreboard: Illinois -7,900; Indiana +5,000; Michigan +12,800

2015 manufacturing scoreboard: Illinois -7,900; Indiana +5,000; Michigan +12,800

Illinois is home to the worst manufacturing recovery in the entire Midwest.

The collapse of Illinois’ manufacturing sector is occurring in the midst of a manufacturing boom in neighboring Indiana and Michigan, May data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal. For the month of May, Illinois shed another 2,500 manufacturing jobs, Indiana added 2,000 manufacturing jobs and Michigan had an explosive monthly gain of 6,600 jobs in the manufacturing sector.


Illinois has lost manufacturing jobs in every month of 2015, bringing the state’s total loss of factory jobs to 7,900 on the year. Meanwhile, Indiana and Michigan are on course for another successful year in producing middle-class factory opportunities, with Indiana up 5,000 factory jobs in 2015, and Michigan up 12,800.


The 2015 manufacturing scoreboard is not an anomaly. In fact, Illinois’ manufacturing recovery has been so weak and Michigan’s so strong that in October 2014, the Wolverine State surpassed Illinois for total factory jobs. This is a shocking shift in manufacturing power, given that Michigan’s economy is only three-quarters the size of Illinois’, and Michigan’s recession collapse was so extreme that at the two states’ respective recession bottoms, Michigan had 128,000 fewer manufacturing jobs than Illinois.

Now Michigan isn’t looking back, leaving Illinois further and further behind for factory work every month.


Since the bottom of the Great Recession, Illinois is home to the worst recovery of manufacturing jobs in the entire Midwest. Although Illinois still has the largest economy in the Midwest, the Land of Lincoln has only recovered 19,300 manufacturing jobs during the last six years of recovery (+3.5 percent), while Indiana has tacked on 94,200 factory jobs (+22.1 percent) and Michigan has added a stunning 157,100 jobs in manufacturing sector (+35.7 percent).


Without significant policy reforms to reinvigorate the manufacturing sector, Illinois faces an embarrassing future. Michigan has already passed the Land of Lincoln for total factory jobs, and Indiana is catching up. The Hoosier State now has 520,000 factory jobs to Illinois’ 573,000. And even though Indiana has an economy and workforce half the size of Illinois’, the Hoosiers are on course to surpass Illinois for middle-class manufacturing jobs in the next few years.

It is no mystery what policy reforms are needed to turn around Illinois’ manufacturing collapse. The Land of Lincoln simply needs to follow the path to manufacturing success that Indiana and Michigan have already laid out. Necessary reforms include:

Gov. Bruce Rauner is seeking to achieve two of these components for recovery in conjunction with the budgeting process. The governor is fighting for workers’ compensation reform and a property-tax freeze to help pivot the state off its completely unsustainable course. Not only would those reforms provide economic growth and relief for homeowners, they would also jump-start Illinois’ beleaguered manufacturing sector, bringing opportunity back to Illinois’ blue-collar middle class.

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