Illinois’ economic recovery is a long story, and it’s far from over. It’s a slow-moving story, too, as laid out by Ed Boss, chief economist for the state’s nonpartisan Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability. A measure of the economy is housing starts. “The state has underperformed the nation,” he says, blaming “failed fiscal policy, a slow housing upturn, and stalled manufacturing industry Downstate.”
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Retail sales are not gaining quickly, either. “People have to have a propensity to consume, and if they don’t have any money, they’re not going to buy,” remarked State Rep. Al Riley (D-Olympia Fields) during a COGFA meeting Tuesday in Springfield. “Income actually went up, spending went down,” said Boss, “so there’s a lot of trepidation about people going out and spending.” The state’s gross domestic product has grown about 2 percent a year since 2009.