JUNE JOBS REPORT: JOBS AND UNEMPLOYMENT DOWN AS WORKFORCE SHRINKS
Illinois Policy Institute
lost 2,200 jobs in June, which marked the state’s second consecutive
month of job losses in 2016, according to a preliminary jobs report from
the Illinois Department of Employment Security, or IDES.
Illinois’ jobs growth lags behind the national average, according to IDES. The
state has only gained 29,400 jobs since January 2016, putting Illinois on pace
for 58,800 jobs gained on the year. This is consistent with last year’s anemic
jobs number and provides more evidence of Illinois’ weak long-term jobs growth.
Illinois’ unemployment rate declined to 6.2 percent in June from May’s 6.4
percent rate. The state’s 6.2 percent unemployment rate is over 26 percent
higher than the 4.9 percent national unemployment rate for June.
The drop in Illinois’ unemployment rate is entirely due to more Illinoisans
leaving the workforce: The state lost 36,000 people from its labor force in
June. As of June, Illinois had 129,000 fewer people working than it had in
November 2007, the state’s pre-recession peak.
The new IDES report shows that in June, the three sectors with the largest gains
in jobs were:
Professional and business services (+3,000);
Financial activities (+1,700); and
Other services (+1,500).
The two industry sectors with the biggest losses in jobs were:
Educational and health services (-7,300); and
Trade, transportation and utilities (-1,000).
Although manufacturing jobs were up 100 over May’s numbers, the state is down
9,100 manufacturing jobs on the year – the most severe year-over-year job losses
of any sector in the state. That includes a loss of 2,900 manufacturing jobs in
the first half of 2016. This is in stark contrast with the job gains in
white-collar professions such as professional and business services, which has
seen an increase of 3,000 jobs in June and 16,700 jobs on the year.
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Illinois’ overall jobs growth is lackluster. And disheartened job
seekers are abandoning the labor market altogether. The jobs growth
occurring is primarily in white-collar job sectors, while the
biggest job losses have come in blue-collar sectors. This is not
surprising, as Illinois’ high property taxes, onerous labor
regulations and costly workers’ compensation system affect
blue-collar industries disproportionately. The loss of blue-collar
jobs in sectors such as manufacturing and trade, transportation and
utilities especially hurts Illinois’ struggling middle class. As
Sean McCarthy, the Illinois Department of Commerce’s acting
director, noted, “Manufacturing has been a critical part of [the]
state’s economy, providing stable, good paying jobs for Illinois
The result of Illinois’ weak jobs growth has been an exodus of
working-age Illinoisans, according to federal Bureau of Labor
Statistics data. Similar data from the IRS confirm that working-age
Illinoisans are leading the out-migration from the state, and
millennials are departing most rapidly.
June’s unimpressive job numbers show Illinois urgently needs
economic reforms to foster jobs growth and stop the exit of workers
from the labor force.
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