Mixed jobs report in January, 2014 wrap-up
Illinois’ recent economic history is grim, but there is a beacon of light appearing at the end of the tunnel.
Illinois’ unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent in January from 6.2 percent in December, according to the March 17 economic release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS. Unemployment fell because 9,600 more Illinoisans found work, resulting in a growing labor force and fewer unemployed, according to the BLS household survey. However, payroll jobs fell by 7,100 statewide, according to the business establishment survey, making January’s labor report a mixed one.
The household survey showed that the state’s workforce grew by 6,300 and the number of unemployed Illinoisans shrank by 3,300, both contributing to the increase of 9,600 more Illinoisans working, compared to the previous month.
Month-over-month changes in payroll jobs show gains in areas such as education and health services; leisure and hospitality; and trade, transportation and utilities. These gains were more than offset by losses in areas such as construction, manufacturing, professional and business services, and government, for a net loss of 7,100 payroll jobs statewide.
BLS provides an annual adjustment to prior year jobs figures every February, allowing for a final tally on how the states rank each year in terms of jobs and growth. For creating new payroll jobs, Illinois ranked ninth in the Midwest and 38th nationally. For putting people back to work, measured by the household survey, Illinois ranked fourth in the Midwest and 22nd nationally in 2014.
Unfortunately, Illinois is still trying to kick-start an anemic recovery. Despite a strong 2014, Illinois still ranks last in the country for putting people back to work over the Great Recession era, with 234,000 fewer Illinoisans working today compared to when the recession began. In terms of recovering payroll jobs, Illinois ranks second-to-last nationally, with 94,600 fewer payroll jobs than when the recession began.
Illinois’ recent economic history is grim, but there is a beacon of light appearing at the end of the tunnel. Lawmakers in the General Assembly have taken to championing pro-entrepreneurial policies, including reforms to taxes and fees for entrepreneurs, embracing crowdfunding, and abolishing the death tax.
Gov. Bruce Rauner has proposed a budget that will sunset the 2011 tax hikes as scheduled, and has stated that he will propose six pieces of legislation to improve Illinois’ economic environment on issues such as workers’ compensation. A legislative agenda to foster entrepreneurship along with structural reforms to the state’s business climate will provide a tremendous spark for creating meaningful opportunities in Illinois.
Image source: Thomas Leth-Olsen