Illinois employers report 900 layoffs, including continued losses in manufacturing
Illinois’ March layoff report shows that almost a quarter of the 900 Illinoisans who will lose their jobs are manufacturing workers.
Illinois employers reported nearly 900 layoffs in March. While this announcement features far fewer pink slips than the 1,680 layoffs in February, the March layoff announcement showed that the state’s manufacturing sector, in particular, still saw major job losses.
According to filings with the state, five manufacturers announced 272 layoffs, with four of the five companies cited closing permanently.
These closures included:
- The closure of Trinity Containers LLC in Quincy (72 workers)
- Mass layoffs at WestRock in Chicago (49 workers)
- The closure of Siemens Medical Solutions USA Inc. in Wood Dale (29 workers)
- The closure of Grace Davison Discovery Sciences in Deerfield (41 workers)
- The closure of Assembled Products, Inc. in Buffalo Grove (81 workers)
Mondelez International and Mitsubishi, which announced their departures from Illinois last summer, also in March announced additional layoffs coming this May. But the good news is that manufacturing’s job losses – though continued – are shrinking. The 272 manufacturing layoffs for March are still fewer than the 540 layoffs in the industry in February, and follow a significantly slower pace than in 2015, when Illinois lost 25 manufacturing jobs per workday, on net.
Unfortunately, as long as manufacturers in the Land of Lincoln continue to face the highest workers’ compensation costs in the region, the highest property taxes in the region and a hostile lawsuit climate, Illinois’ manufacturing crisis will likely continue.
Illinois manufacturing workers also earn less than their counterparts in neighboring Indiana, when adjusted for the cost of living. During Illinois’ sluggish recovery from the Great Recession, manufacturing jobs peaked in July 2012. The state lost 10,000 manufacturing jobs on net by the end of 2015, while Indiana – benefiting from a friendlier jobs climate – added 34,000 manufacturing jobs in the same timeframe.
Reforms are on the table to reverse these trends. Key pieces of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s agenda are aimed at helping the manufacturing sector, including:
- Regulatory reform to fix Illinois’ broken workers’ compensation system, which drives manufacturing jobs out of the state
- Tax and spending reform to freeze the nation’s highest property taxes in the region and allow local governments to control budget costs
However, Illinois House of Representatives Speaker Mike Madigan has shown no sense of urgency for reforms that would address the state’s steady manufacturing losses, and instead has called for more tax hikes, which would further burden Illinois’ working class.