Illinois companies announce more than 2,100 mass layoffs in May

Illinois companies announce more than 2,100 mass layoffs in May

1,120 of the jobs lost were in manufacturing and food processing.

Companies in Illinois announced more than 2,100 mass layoffs in May with significant losses in the manufacturing sector. Out of the 2,126 jobs lost, 1,120 were manufacturing or food processing jobs.

These mass-layoff figures come from the monthly reports the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, Act mandates. The WARN Act requires large employers to let workers know ahead of time if there is a mass layoff coming. WARN reports are not perfect indicators of the overall state economy, but they are useful barometers for studying mass layoff patterns among large employers.

May’s report marks a sharp increase in the amount of mass layoffs announced from April, which saw only 1,259. And unlike April, which saw mostly service-and hospitality-sector jobs lost, May saw mass layoffs hit blue-collar jobs.

Butterball’s Montgomery-based bacon processing plant in Kane County reported the most layoffs in May with 667, due to the plant closing. And while Butterball did not provide an official reason for the layoffs on the WARN report, at the time of the announcement, Butterball pointed to “changing market conditions” and “consumer needs.”

However, the losses were not just restricted to Kane County. Other losses in manufacturing and food processing included General Electric and Kellogg, respectively. Kellogg’s Chicago distribution center in Woodridge, which specializes in cookie and cracker manufacturing, let go of 258 workers and listed reorganization as the official event cause of the mass layoffs, according to May’s WARN report. The GE lighting Mattoon lamp plant in Coles County announced 135 mass layoffs due to a permanent closing of its electric lamp plant. GE cited the cause of the layoffs as a slowdown of business.

Illinois’ manufacturing sector has been declining for years. Since the turn of the century, the Prairie State has lost more than 300,000 manufacturing jobs. And the overall jobs situation is not much better. Illinois has still not passed the employment peak it reached in September 2000, and it has the worst personal income growth in the nation.

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