Illinois’ unemployment rate ties for 3rd-worst in the nation

Illinois’ unemployment rate ties for 3rd-worst in the nation

Illinois’ unemployment rate for April was near the highest in the U.S. Its recovery lags the nation by nearly a full percentage point.

Illinois’ unemployment rate tied for 3rd-worst in the U.S. in April 2024, with 4.8% of the state’s workforce unemployed, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Illinois’ unemployment rate continued to exceed the national rate of 3.9% in April. It was higher than in any neighboring state.

Illinois saw modest job growth in April 2024, adding 37,400 jobs compared to a year earlier. This growth rate ranked Illinois 44th among all states for non-farm job growth at 0.6%. Nationwide, states added 2.8 million jobs during that time, growing at 1.8%.

Illinois saw the highest growth rates in the state and local government sectors, adding 5,300 and 20,400 jobs respectively, along with “other services” adding 10,100 jobs. The professional and business sector saw the largest net decline during the 12-month period, reporting 33,100 fewer positions from a year earlier.

Illinois saw modest gains in 4 out of 11 industries, not including government, but the state continued to lag the national economy as well as all neighboring states.

Illinois reported the worst job growth rate among neighboring states from April 2023 to April 2024 at 0.6%. Missouri reported the strongest job growth at 2.5%.

Illinois’ job recovery rate since the pandemic also ranked worst than its neighboring states and 44th in the nation, with only 2,500 more jobs than were available in January 2020.

Illinois’ sluggish jobs recovery from the pandemic has been further complicated by population loss continuing to hit communities across the state. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows Illinois lost 32,826 residents in 2023, marking the state’s 10th consecutive year of population decline.

Historically, high taxes have been the No. 1 reason Illinoisans considered leaving the state. The Illinois Policy Institute’s Lincoln Poll in 2023 substantiated that reason.

Illinois’ state and local tax burden is the highest in the Midwest. Illinois also levies the second-highest state corporate income tax in the nation and the state’s tax code is among the least friendly for businesses in the Midwest.

Recent income tax hikes have already fostered an environment in Illinois that makes it harder for Illinoisans to find work and reduces wage growth prospects for those who are employed.

Now Gov. J.B. Pritzker wants to cut $45 from each family of four’s state income tax exemption as part of an $800 million package of tax increases to balance his record $52.7 billion budget.

If Illinois is to meet its potential, state leaders need to stop hamstringing the economy with high taxation and poor public policy. Illinois must focus on strengthening its fiscal positionremoving regulatory burdens and providing real tax relief both to workers who are already finding it difficult to remain and to job creators who are desperately trying to stay.

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