Illinois among states least equipped to handle next recession

September 5, 2018

Another recession would be particularly detrimental to Illinois.

CHICAGO (Sept. 5, 2018) – Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 15, 2008. Ten years later, this collapse is still remembered as the high-water mark of the financial crisis that took place during the Great Recession.

Some economists predict that the next recession could come as soon as 2020. While another recession would affect the entire nation, it would be particularly detrimental to Illinois, if lawmakers fail to make necessary policy reforms that would improve the state’s fiscal health.

New analysis from the Illinois Policy Institute reveals that Illinois is less prepared for a recession today than it was prior to the Great Recession.

Here’s why:

  • Illinois’ credit rating has been downgraded 21 times since 2009. Now the state has the lowest credit rating in the nation, one notch above junk, which makes borrowing money more costly to taxpayers.
  • Illinois’ economic growth is slower today than it was prior to the Great Recession.
  • Pension-related payments take up a significantly larger portion of the state’s general revenues, threatening to crowd out services. Current pension obligations take up more than 25 percent of the state’s expenditures, a significant jump from less than 10 percent prior to the recession.
  • The state’s shrinking population makes growing the economy even more difficult.

Experts are available in Chicago and statewide to comment on this anniversary event.

Orphe Divounguy, chief economist
Bryce Hill, research analyst
Adam Schuster, director of budget and tax research
Austin Berg, director of content strategy

For bookings or interviews, contact Melanie Krakauer at or (312) 607-4977.