Illinois is No. 1 again Ė for
producing the most pumpkins in the U.S.
Survey data show Illinois harvesting more than 17,000 acres of pumpkin in 2016,
up about 3,000 acres from 2015. The last census data on pumpkins, in 2012,
showed just more than 16,000 acres harvested, with Tazewell County accounting
for roughly a quarter of those acres. Mason, Wayne, Peoria and Stark counties
also all had at least 1,000 acres of pumpkins harvested. The next three states
with the most harvested pumpkin acres were New York at 4,452, Michigan at 5,997
and Ohio at 4,452 pumpkin acres as of 2012. Individually, New York, Michigan and
Ohio didnít even have half the amount of pumpkin acres as Illinois as of 2012.
However, this is one of the few successful claims Illinois can make this fall as
the year begins to wind down.
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While Illinois can brag
about beating its Midwestern neighbors in pumpkin production, itís
simultaneously losing residents and falling behind in jobs growth Ė
the stateís out-migration rate is worse than all of its border
Recent months donít
inspire much hope. August was the worst month for manufacturing jobs
in Illinois since the Great Recession, and Illinois experienced a
net loss of 10,800 jobs in September, according to the Illinois
Department of Employment Security.
Topping the annual pumpkin rankings is a nice note for the Land of
Lincoln, as it far exceeds the rest of the Midwest, but competing
with our neighboring states in jobs growth and migration patterns
will count for more. Lawmakers should get to work on pro-growth
reforms that will help see Illinois as No. 1 for more than just
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