One of the issues in the latest State of Illinois Economic Forecast from the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability highlights how the economy in Illinois is uneven. Dan Long, executive director of COGFA, said the report they commissioned Moody’s to produce which was published this week provides a forecast for the state and one thing it shows is how the economy in Illinois isn’t balanced. Long said technology jobs are growing in the Chicagoland area while manufacturing jobs are shrinking in the southern part of the state. “Chicago is doing well as a result of some high tech industries moving into, particularly, in the downtown area,” Long said. “The manufacturing slump is really hurting the export oriented manufacturing centers, like I said, Peoria, Decatur, (and) Quad Cities.” Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch said they also see the same unevenness.
“If you live in Charleston you’re in crisis. If you live in Naperville, if you’re not reading the papers, I’m not sure you even know this is going on,” Maisch said. The unevenness of the economy makes it hard for the Chamber to respond. “As a statewide organization that’s difficult for us to balance such uneven impacts,” Maisch said. Long said another major factor in some parts of the state that contributes to the unevenness of the economy is the ongoing budget impasse with sectors dependent on state dollars that are backlogged because of the nearly 8 month long budget impasse. Other recent reports from COGFA indicate Illinois’ economy is growing, though at the slowest rate since World War II.