Illinois adds 18,800 jobs in June, still missing 117,000 from pandemic

Illinois adds 18,800 jobs in June, still missing 117,000 from pandemic

Illinois’ employment recovery continued in June, but the state is still missing one in seven jobs lost during the pandemic.

Illinois added 18,800 jobs from mid-May through mid-June, marking thirteen consecutive months of job gains. However, the state’s unemployment rate at 4.5% remains the highest in the Midwest and the fourth-highest nationally.

May jobs growth was also revised to show gains of 13,400, rather than the 12,800 originally estimated, according to data released July 21 by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

Nearly all major industries experienced job gains during the month. The largest gains came from the leisure and hospitality sector, which grew payrolls by 9,900 during the month.

Professional and business services added 3,100 new jobs; education and health services accumulated an additional 2,000 jobs; construction gained 2,000 positions; the information sector added 1,500 jobs; manufacturing added 1,200 jobs; trade, transportation and utilities employment grew by 1,000; and government payrolls expanded by 600.

However, some industries also shed jobs or stagnated. Mining experienced no change in employment; other services payrolls declined by 800; and financial activities lost 1,700 jobs during June.

Professional and business services were able to rebound by 3,100 from May to June after losing 1,300 positions between April and May and losing 12,200 jobs between March and April – the most of any major sector. Unfortunately, June marked the fourth consecutive month of either no job gains or job losses for Illinois’ mining industry.

Despite monthly growth in total payrolls during the past year, Illinois is still missing 117,000 jobs relative to pre-pandemic levels, with the missing jobs being spread across virtually every industry.

Leisure and hospitality payrolls are down 46,300 jobs, the most of any sector and accounting for 31% of the state’s total missing jobs. Meanwhile, the government and education and health sectors also make up a large chunk of Illinois’ missing jobs, down 41,000 and 31,700 jobs respectively.

With job increases this past month, four sectors have recovered the job losses suffered at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and state-mandated shutdowns. Construction, information, trade, transportation and utilities, and professional and business services have all recovered and are now above pre-COVID employment levels.

Illinois’ employment recovery, crippled by COVID-19 losses and strict mandates, severely lags the rest of the nation; continued losses will further delay recovery. In the past three months, three major corporations – BoeingCaterpillarand Citadel - have  announced that they will relocate their company headquarters out of Illinois. U.S. Steel is also selling assets at its Granite City Works, which may cost Illinois 1,000 jobs.

Moreover, a record exodus driving population decline threatens to prevent the state’s economy from ever returning to pre-pandemic employment levels.

The first step to reverse the state’s current trajectory will be for voters to take a hard look at Amendment 1 on the Nov. 8 ballot. Amendment 1 would change the Illinois Constitution to grant unions in Illinois more extreme powers than they have in any other state, including the ability to bargain over virtually limitless subjects, the ability to override state law through their contracts and a guarantee that taxpayers and lawmakers would have an extremely difficult time reversing course.

Should Amendment 1 pass, Illinois’ $313 billion pension debt will continue to balloon as state and local taxes, which are already among the highest in the nation, rise in an attempt to keep up. And spending on vital programs will continue to fall. Illinois’ housing and labor markets are already suffering as high taxes and reduced services make finding a job and living in the state challenging.

Illinois needs reform that will control the state’s cost drivers and deliver the services taxpayers expect for their dollars. Amendment 1 ensures those reforms will be more onerous.

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