Illinois lost 1,100 jobs in November, continues to lag national economy

Illinois lost 1,100 jobs in November, continues to lag national economy

The Land of Lincoln is experiencing weak employment growth and a workforce dropout problem.

Illinois shed 1,100 nonfarm payroll jobs in November, according to data released Dec. 21 by the Illinois Department of Employment Security, or IDES.

The month’s net jobs loss was driven largely by Illinois’ government sector and some segments of the service sector.

The largest losses over the month came in government (-2,800), financial activities (-2,200) and other services (-2,100). The largest gains were in professional and business services (+6,300), manufacturing (+2,200) and construction (+2,100).

Service industries drive November job losses in Illinois

Over the year, Illinois employment is up 25,900 jobs, or 0.4 percent. This severely lags the U.S. economy, which saw employment grow by 1.4 percent over the same period. The unemployment rate in Illinois remained unchanged at 4.9 percent, with the national average pegged at 4.1 percent.

Unfortunately, the data continue to show Illinois’ labor force problem. Over the year, labor force participation in the Land of Lincoln has dropped 0.9 percent.

Nearly 100,000 Illinoisans have left the labor force since January 2017

While the November data release showed jobs losses over the month, IDES also revised October’s jobs gains upward, to 9,300 from 3,400.

How to improve labor market prospects and grow incomes in 2018

To stop the bleeding of the state’s labor force, one of the most important actions the General Assembly can take is to calm Illinoisans’ fears of further tax hikes. Lawmakers can achieve this by enacting a suite of spending reforms – including pension reform and comprehensive property tax reform.

The high cost of doing business in Illinois, excessive regulations and the threat of more tax hikes as the state struggles with $9 billion in unpaid bills and more than $250 billion in pension debt will keep new businesses from settling in Illinois until reforms are made.

In order to reverse Illinois’ outmigration problem in the long term, state leaders must reduce the cost of government while taking material steps to improve Illinois’ business climate. Positive monthly jobs reports shouldn’t be such a rarity.

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