Deere announces 120 layoffs in East Moline

Deere announces 120 layoffs in East Moline

Moline, Ill.-based agricultural equipment maker will cut more than 100 jobs by September; Illinois’ manufacturing workers continue to struggle for job opportunities enjoyed by their counterparts in the region.

Deere & Co. announced July 22 plans to lay off about 120 employees in East Moline, Ill., as the Moline, Ill.-based company said it expects agricultural equipment sales to decrease in 2016.

This is continued bad news for Deere employees in the Moline area, as it comes on the heels of last year’s layoffs. In July 2015, Deere laid off 160 Moline employees, followed just a month later by 150 layoffs in Moline, and another 30 in nearby Davenport, Iowa. In November 2015, the company announced it was cutting 220 jobs in Moline.

Blue-collar workers had a tough time in the Land of Lincoln in 2015, with the state losing 25 manufacturing jobs per workday during the year. Unfortunately, as the Deere news shows, the state isn’t changing course in 2016.

While the number of layoffs each month in the first half of 2016 has fluctuated – from large spikes in the beginning of the year to inconsistent numbers in late spring – blue-collar, working-class job opportunities have continued to decline. The state, continuing a slow climb out of the Great Recession, is likely replacing many of these full-time, well-paying jobs with part-time work.

Illinois must adopt pro-growth reforms to make itself friendlier to production businesses and reverse the decline in middle-class job opportunities.

Both the state’s broken workers’ compensation system and its out-of-control property taxes are causing manufacturers to shut their doors in Illinois, often driving them out of state.

While Illinois lost 6,200 manufacturing jobs on net in 2015, Indiana gained 4,000. Other neighboring and Great Lakes states, such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio, also made significant net job gains in 2015 while Illinois fell behind.

And not only are opportunities more abundant in neighboring states, but manufacturing workers in Indiana also earn more than their Illinois counterparts when adjusted for the cost of living.

Reforming the state’s workers’ compensation system and freezing its property taxes could help Illinois compete with its neighbors for manufacturing jobs. But Illinois lawmakers’ refusal to enact reforms, combined with neighboring states’ willingness to do so, has given manufacturers every reason to cross state lines.

Illinois needs reforms to compete in the Midwest again. Politicians who avoid economic reforms and push tax hikes should realize that, as more taxpayers and businesses flee the state, taxable income leaves along with them.

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