Chamber Corner | Main Street News | Job Hunt | Classifieds

Calendar | Illinois Lottery | Tech News Elsewhere (fresh daily from the Web)

Business News Elsewhere (fresh daily from the Web)

Backgrounder: 'Hellhole' fiction on the Illinois economy       Send a link to a friend

[DEC. 13, 2006]  CHICAGO -- On Wednesday, the American Tort Reform Association is releasing its "Judicial Hellholes 2006," which criticizes judges and juries in certain areas of the country, arguing that they hurt local economies. Past reports have targeted Illinois, with 2005's report attacking, without basis, Cook County. In fact, these "Hellhole" reports are based on no scientific data and are contradicted by true economic yardsticks. Illinois and Chicago-Cook County, for example, lead the nation on a number of fronts:

  • Job growth

    • In August, according to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security, Illinois led the nation in the previous month's job growth. It was the second time in 2006 that Illinois topped the nation in job growth. That is the first time that has happened in recorded history. (1)

    • According to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, more than 150,000 new jobs have been created in the state since 2004, the highest total in the Midwest. Also, according to the office, the unemployment rate in Illinois has dropped from 6.7 in 2003 to its current 4.7. (2)

  • New and best business locations

    • Site Selection magazine ranks Illinois 13th in its list of top business climates in the nation. (3)

    • Site Selection magazine 2006 also named Chicago and Cook County as corporate America's top metropolitan area for securing the most new and expanded corporate facility projects in the country in 2005. (4)

    • ranks the three Illinois metro areas -- Champaign, No. 26; Bloomington, No. 43; and Springfield, No. 73 -- among the best locales in the country for business and careers. (5)

  • Small-business growth

    • The U.S. Small Business Administration's 2006 small-business profile of Illinois shows a 7 percent increase in new Illinois businesses in 2005, 2.5 percent higher than the national average. Illinois showed a decrease in business terminations despite a national increase in business terminations. (6)

  • Chicago and Cook County

    • "Chicago's business and professional services industry is reporting steady employment growth. ... The city's one-year job growth in this sector is exceeding the nation's," reported Site Selection magazine, March 2006. (7)

    • Ford Motor Company, which announced plans earlier this year to close plants all around North America, announced that it will not close the Chicago plant and, in fact, according to its group vice president of sales and marketing, "The plant is going to play a big role in our future success." (8)

  • Metro East

    • Edwardsville and Glen Carbon -- As recently reported in the Edwardsville Intelligencer, in the first half of 2006, "Nearly $61 million in new construction and development projects were under way" in Edwardsville and Glen Carbon, "not including projects in unincorporated areas." (9) Also under construction is "Edwardsville Crossing, the new $58-million Dierbergs complex under way in Edwardsville and Glen Carbon. These stores are not included in the retail sales figures for 2005, which increased to $543,585,257 over the years since 1996, when retail sales totaled $173,083,863. ... Then there's the Gateway Commerce Center in Edwardsville, where more than 10 million square feet of distribution warehouses are located on the 2,300-acre business park at the intersection of interstates 255 and 270." (10)

[to top of second column]

  • (Metro East continued)

    • Collinsville -- The Edwardsville Intelligencer also noted "the recent $5.8 million expansion at the Gateway Center, which added 32,500 square feet to the already large convention center ... [and] the 450,000-square-foot retail center Koman Properties is developing in Collinsville on Route 157 is just one of Koman's projects in the area, which include the Nameoki Village area in Granite City." (11)

    • Caseyville -- "A California developer plans to invest $400 million in Caseyville for the largest upscale residential and retail development in southwestern Illinois." (12)

    • Madison and Venice -- "Housing development valued at $13 million is taking place in Madison and Venice." (13)

  • Exports

    • "Illinois exports reached a record high in 2005, surging almost twice as fast as exports nationwide." The state is now the sixth-largest exporter in the nation, with the value of exports jumping 19 percent. (14)

  • Biotechnology

    • Business Facilities magazine ranked Illinois the top state in the nation for biotechnology growth in 2005. (15)

= = =


  1. News release, Illinois Government News Network, Aug. 24, 2006,

  2. Norma Mendoz, "Behind those ads," Edwardsville Intelligencer, Oct. 13, 2006.

  3. Mark Arend, "North Carolina Reclaims Top Billing," Site Selection magazine, November 2005.

  4. Ron Starner, "Title Town: Chicago No. 1 Again," Site Selection magazine, March 2006.


  6. U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy, 2006,

  7. Ron Starner, "Title Town: Chicago No.1 Again," Site Selection magazine, March 2006.

  8. Jim Mateja, "Ford won't close plant in Chicago, official says," Chicago Tribune, March 22, 2006.

  9. Norma Mendoz, "Behind those ads," Edwardsville Intelligencer, Oct. 13, 2006.

  10. Ibid.

  11. Ibid.

  12. Ibid.

  13. Ibid.

  14. Sandra Jones, "Illinois rides global boom," Crain's Chicago Business, Jan. 23, 2006.

  15. "2005 Rankings Report," Business Facilities Magazine,

[From the Center for Justice and Democracy]


< Recent articles

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor