Illinois recovery stalls as state sheds 4,000 private sector jobs in April

Illinois recovery stalls as state sheds 4,000 private sector jobs in April

While total payrolls were up 300, private sector jobs took a beating in April and lost 4,000 positions. Illinois’ labor market completely stalled as the national economic recovery slowed.

Illinois shed 4,000 (-0.1%) private sector jobs from mid-March through mid-April, new data from the Illinois Department of Employment Security shows.

Meanwhile, the public sector added 4,300 (0.6%) jobs during the month, netting the state 300 (+0.0%) jobs. That marks the worst month for jobs since December.

While private sector payrolls as a whole declined, some individual industries were still able to grow. Leisure and hospitality added 8,100 (+1.8%) payroll positions; Construction grew payrolls by 4,000 (+1.8%); Other services added 1,700 (+0.7%) jobs; and Financial activities grew by 600 (+0.1%) jobs.

Unfortunately, more private industries shed jobs than added jobs in April, and those losses were far more severe. Manufacturing lost 7,800 (-1.4%) jobs; Professional and business services shed 4,900 (-0.5%) jobs; Educational and health services payrolls shrank by 2,800 (-0.3%); Trade, transportation and utilities also lost 2,800 (-0.2%) positions; and mining payrolls declined by 100 (-1.6%) jobs.

Illinois’ abysmal April jobs report comes just weeks after national figures indicated a sharp slowdown in labor market recovery across the nation. Nationally, the economy added 266,000 jobs (+0.2%) with proportionate increases among the private and public sector. However, the slowdown has been much more pronounced in Illinois, with jobs growth essentially halted in Illinois. Even prior to the slowdown, Illinois had been recovering at a significantly slower pace than the rest of the nation.

The sluggish labor market recovery in Illinois has left more Illinoisans looking for work than their peers nationally. Illinois’ unemployment rate of 7.1% remains significantly higher than the national average of 6.1%.

Unfortunately for those Illinoisans still out of work, Gov. J.B. Pritzker is pursuing nine new taxes worth nearly $1 billion, including ones that would hurt job creation efforts. The move was decried by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and Republicans because Pritzker is not closing unfair “loopholes” as he claimed, but rather trying to take back a deal he made early in his term for key tax incentives and deductions intended to create jobs.

Pritzker is also rumored to be pursuing the cancellation of a pandemic recovery tax credit for small businesses that would have taken from $500 million to $1 billion more from them as they struggle to recover.

It is imperative lawmakers work to avoid the harm to businesses and jobs that tax hikes would create. Economists argue against raising taxes during a recession.

Instead, Illinois can improve its finances and continue to provide core services mainly by implementing constitutional pension reform. The Illinois Policy Institute is offering that along with other fiscal fixes that can give overburdened Illinois taxpayers a path to declining debt, lower taxes and more effective state government.

Illinois needs its labor markets to improve so the state can create more jobs and grow the tax base, not to pass more and higher taxes that cost the state more jobs and residents.

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