For the first time in 7 years, Illinois ended the year with fewer jobs than it started with and that means more burden on existing taxpayers to make up for a smaller tax base, according to the state’s labor market information director.
Over the past month the largest losses were: trade, transportation and utilities down 12,100; professional and business services down 4,600; and educational and health services were down 2,100, among other areas. Manufacturing, which lost 14,000 jobs for all of last year, gained 500 jobs in December.
IDES Director Jeff Mays says while the nation gained more than 2.6 million jobs in 2015, Illinois lost 3,000 for the year.
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Evelina Loescher, labor market information director at IDES, says the loss of 3,000 jobs lowers the overall tax base. “You want to share that tax base among more people,” Loescher said. “So increasing jobs would certainly help that.”
Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Jim Schultz said the state must make fundamental changes to the business climate to promote growth and job creation if Illinois is going to compete with the growth in the rest of the country.
Steve Rauschenberger, president of the Technology and Manufacturing Association, agrees. But it’s not just reforms to the state’s business climate Illinois needs, Rauschenberger says the Land of Lincoln also needs patience.
“Even if there were quick reforms,” Rauschenberger said, “it’s going to take 3 to 5 years to start rebuilding the middle class producing jobs that we all want but don’t have the public policy to support.”