John Deere announces layoffs in Waterloo

John Deere announces layoffs in Waterloo

Deere & Co. plans to lay off 115 manufacturing workers by late September.

Deere & Co. announced Aug. 22 its plans to place 115 workers on indefinite layoff effective Sept. 23. The layoffs were due in large part to an 8 percent decrease in worldwide agricultural and turf equipment sales Deere expected for fiscal year 2016, as well as negative forecasts for agricultural equipment sales in the United States and Mexico expected to decrease 15 to 20 percent.

While 30 layoffs were also announced for the Davenport Works, the plant based in Waterloo, Ill., was hit the hardest.

This is yet another blow for Illinois manufacturing workers, particularly those employed by Deere & Co. who last month announced plans to lay off nearly 120 employees from the Deere plant in East Moline.

However, this news is only the latest in a downward trend Illinois manufacturers experienced in the past several months. In July, Illinois lost 300 manufacturing jobs and while June saw a slight gain of 100 manufacturing jobs, this was dwarfed by the 1,100 factory jobs lost in May. In 2015 Illinois lost 6,200 manufacturing jobs while other states in the region saw gains in factory employment. Indiana had a better 2015, as it gained a net of over 4,000 manufacturing jobs. Indiana workers also enjoyed higher wages than their Illinois neighbors when adjusted for cost of living and taxes.

While Illinois’ unemployment rate has steadily decreased since May 2016, this is primarily due to workers leaving the state’s labor force. Illinois’ out-migration crisis fueled in large part by the loss of stable, well-paying jobs has contributed to this drop in the state’s unemployment rate. The unemployment rate has also dropped due to Illinois residents often finding part-time jobs that pay far less and do not provide benefits.

These layoffs are unfortunate, but not surprising considering Illinois’ toxic business environment, which makes the state unattractive to employers looking to set up shop or expand their operations. Illinois has the highest property taxes in the nation, as well as one of the costliest worker’s compensation systems in the entire country. Both high property taxes and an expensive workers’ compensation system hurt production businesses, such as manufacturers, disproportionately.

Illinois must break the endless cycle of manufacturing jobs losses. By enacting pro-growth reforms, the Land of Lincoln will once again be able to compete with other states for stable and well-paying manufacturing jobs. Without these reforms, more manufacturing jobs will be lost and more Illinois residents will have to settle for lower paying, part-time jobs.

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