Sears cuts 200 Illinois jobs
Illinois remains home to the nation’s worst employment recovery.
Sears Holdings Corp., the parent company of Sears and Kmart, announced 200 layoffs at its Hoffman Estates, Ill., headquarters on Feb. 25.
The layoffs followed a dismal fourth quarter for the company, as its losses deepened even after major cost-cutting efforts.
Notably, Sears has been eligible for $15 million in state tax breaks each year since 2011 after threatening to leave Illinois. That deal stemmed from a 1989 agreement between Sears and the village of Hoffman Estates granting millions of dollars in incentives to Sears to dissuade the company from leaving.
While the Sears cuts will affect primarily white-collar workers, who have suffered under the nation’s weakest employment recovery since the Great Recession, it’s blue-collar manufacturing workers who have been hardest hit in the Land of Lincoln.
Illinois workers are struggling mightily in the state’s poor economy.
In fact, Illinois was the only state of all bordering and Great Lakes states to lose jobs on net in 2015, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While Illinois lost 3,000 jobs on net in 2015, every surrounding state added tens of thousands of jobs on net.
Illinois’ manufacturing sector has borne the most pain during Illinois’ sluggish recovery – standing as a regional outlier in terms of generating good factory jobs. Illinois is home to the lowest-paid production workers in the Midwest.
Policy reforms should target Illinois’ manufacturing and industrial sectors, where businesses and residents have experienced the most economic pain and job losses. Those reforms should include:
- Fixing Illinois’ broken workers’ compensation system, which drives manufacturing jobs out of the state
- Fixing the state’s anti-business lawsuit climate
- Freezing the nation’s second-highest property taxes and allowing local governments to cut budget costs
- Avoiding another tax hike that would give Illinois the fourth-highest overall tax burden in the country
- Comprehensive pension reform
Years of failed public policies have led to a dreadful jobs climate in the Land of Lincoln for workers of all kinds. Only bold reform can change that.