Illinois employers announce more than 2,500 mass layoffs

Illinois employers announce more than 2,500 mass layoffs

Numbers from the March WARN report show that employers in Illinois across various industries laid off 2,573 workers; 267 of the layoffs were in manufacturing.

Newly released information shows that Illinois employers announced more than 2,500 mass layoffs in March 2017, marking the worst mass layoffs report since November 2015. Out of the 2,573 mass layoffs in March, 267 were manufacturing jobs.

The Illinois Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, Act, mandates that large employers let workers and the state know ahead of time if there are going to be mass layoffs. WARN reports are not indicative of the entire state economy, but are useful for studying mass layoffs.

Chicago and its suburbs were the hardest hit in the March 2017 with 1,043 mass layoffs in Cook County, 814 mass layoffs in Will County and 500 mass layoffs in DuPage County. MAC One Midway, LLC, a food service contracting company, announced the most mass layoffs of any employer. MAC One Midway, LLC listed a lost contract as the official reason behind the layoffs. The next three biggest employers that announced mass layoffs were also service-industry jobs from three large store chains

Meijer, a big box store chain, announced 299 total layoffs at its Berwyn and Melrose Park locations. Ultra Foods, a grocery store chain, announced 281 layoffs at its Chicago, Downers Grove and Lombard locations. And Savers, a used merchandise store chain, announced 281 total layoffs at its locations in Chicago, Franklin Park, Arlington Heights, Berwyn, Glenview and Downers Grove.

And although the greater Chicago area was the hardest hit, downstate Illinois was not left unscathed. Boone County saw 141 mass layoffs from three separate companies, two of which were manufacturers. In Jo Daviess County, one company was responsible for the entire county’s mass layoffs; Dura Automotive Systems, a vehicle seating and interior trim manufacturer, laid off 171 workers at their Stockton facility. Dura cited a lost contract and trade as the reasons for the layoffs.

March’s dismal mass layoff numbers more than doubled the 982 job losses reported in February’s WARN notice. This also could be an early warning of a possible departure from February’s positive jobs performance, which cited increases in jobs growth across multiple sectors, including manufacturing.

Illinois’ anti-growth policies drive out jobs, people

The March WARN report is further proof that Illinois’ bad economic policies are having negative effects across the state, driving out jobs and people. Illinois has some of the highest property taxes in the nation and the highest workers’ compensation costs in the region, making it harder for companies of various industries to operate. High property taxes and costly workers’ compensation policies make it especially difficult for Illinois manufacturers to compete across state lines, and those expenses also make Illinois less competitive for attracting new manufacturers.

These policies are taking a toll. Since the new millennium, Illinois lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs. This poor jobs environment combined with one of the costliest tax burdens in the nation is causing massive out-migration.

Out-migration to other states caused Illinois’ total population to decline by more than 37,000 residents between July 2015 and July 2016. The loss was widespread throughout the state. Eighty-nine of Illinois’ 102 counties saw shrinking populations from July 2015 to July 2016. Cook County lost more than 21,000 residents during that time, the worst population loss of any county in the United States.

One of the main reasons so many are leaving is Illinois’ high taxes. A poll from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute revealed that nearly half of Illinoisans wanted to leave the state and Illinois’ high taxes were the No. 1 reason people wanted to move.

The hemorrhaging of people and jobs from Illinois has to stop. To convince residents to stay and attract much-needed jobs, lawmakers should pass pro-growth reforms without tax hikes that would accelerate out-migration and job losses.

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