Illinois’ unemployment rate for June is 5th-worst in U.S.

Illinois’ unemployment rate for June is 5th-worst in U.S.

Illinois added 8,400 jobs in June, but unemployment remained high compared to the rest of the nation. The state still hasn’t recovered the jobs it had before the pandemic.

Illinois’ unemployment rate remained among the highest in the nation last month, despite Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s claim Illinois is making progress toward being “one of the best states in the nation” for jobs and business.

Illinois saw 9,500 jobs lost in June in several sectors, and modest gains in others, for an overall increase of 8,400 jobs over May. The professional and business services sector saw the largest losses, losing 5,400 jobs. Manufacturing lost 2,100 jobs, while the trade, transportation and utilities sector lost 2,000.

The educational and health sector saw the largest gains, adding 5,300 jobs. Government, leisure and hospitality, and construction each gained 2,900 jobs last month. The other services sector gained 2,300 jobs, financial activities gained 1,500, information added 100 and mining saw no change.

While the overall gains are welcome, Illinois’ performance relative to other states is sobering. Like last month, Illinois’ unemployment rate is poor in comparison to most other states. Illinois’ June unemployment rate of 4% is the fifth-worst in the nation with 45 states having rates below 4%.

Pritzker has said he is “creating an economy that works for everyone,” but the state’s job growth ranked in the bottom half of the nation during Pritzker’s first term. As of June 2023, Illinois remains one of just 13 states with fewer jobs than in January 2020, before the pandemic. Just 10 of those states have been slower to recover jobs than Illinois.

Illinois’ sluggish jobs recovery from the pandemic has been further complicated by population loss continuing to hit communities all over the state. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows 85% of Illinois communities lost population last. Data from the Internal Revenue Service showed Illinois lost more than 105,000 residents last year. Those residents took with them nearly $11 billion in wealth.

Illinois has struggled to recover from the pandemic compared to other states. It has continued suffering outmigration at record levels, losing residents and businesses to other states. Data shows Illinoisans of every age and income bracket left the state last year, an ominous sign as questions about the state economy remain.

In Chicago, yet another major corporation recently announced it was moving its headquarters to North Carolina. Businesses are leaving Chicago and Illinois, in part because of crime, taxes and regulations. More businesses may leave if Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson succeeds in implementing major new taxes.

Despite more and more data confirming Illinois has a serious exodus, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and other Illinois politicians continue to deny there is a problem. Besides the IRS departure data, new surveys of Illinois voters show 51% would leave the state if given the opportunity. The main reason is high taxes.

When people are voting with their feet, state leaders have a duty to fix the reasons for those departures. Cut the tax burden, reduce arduous business regulations and maybe Illinois can again attract residents.

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