Illinois jobs recovery worst in Midwest, 8th-worst in nation
With 251,900 jobs still missing since the pandemic began, Illinois’ job market is the least recovered among Midwestern states
States across the country are inching closer and closer to a complete recovery of the jobs lost at the onset of COVID-19 and many state-mandated lockdowns – but not Illinois.
Utah, Idaho, Texas and Arizona have all already surpassed their pre-pandemic employment levels, according to data recently released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Illinois is still missing 251,900 jobs compared to January 2020, when the state’s job numbers peaked. Illinois’ jobs market remains the least recovered of any Midwestern state.
Illinois has only recovered 70% of the jobs the state lost during the onset of the pandemic and state-mandated shutdowns – eighth worst in the nation, and the least of any state in the Midwest. Neighboring Indiana is the most recovered of Midwestern states, having recouped 91% of the state’s job losses.
As more and more states approach a full payroll recovery, jobs in Illinois are likely to remain below their pre-pandemic level for the better part of a year. The state added 262,600 jobs in 2021, but is still missing 251,900 jobs. Even if Illinois is able to keep adding jobs at the same pace as it did last year, payrolls would not make a full recovery until late 2022.
However, a full employment recovery in 2022 may even be a long shot. More than one-third of the workers who are still missing from Illinois’ workforce have likely retired. Making matters even worse for Illinois, a record exodus driving population decline threatens to prevent the state’s economy from ever returning to pre-pandemic employment levels.