Illinois Manufacturing Not Growing at the Pace of Neighboring States

 In Illinois, Jobs, Manufacturing

manufacturing job lossesThe Great Recession that struck the United States economy in the years from 2007-2012 caused a great loss of jobs during those years.

The manufacturing sector was hit very hard in Illinois and all across the Midwest. Illinois in 2017 had 97,000 fewer manufacturing jobs than it did in 2007. Those were good paying jobs with benefits that help support families and local economies.

The loss of manufacturing jobs hurts families, our economy and contributes to the record loss of Illinois residents that are leaving the state to find work elsewhere.

The difference between Illinois and other Midwestern states is that our manufacturing jobs have not returned at the same rates as they have in other states.

Michigan was the hardest hit state in the Midwest during the recession and lost more manufacturing jobs than any other state. Since 2007 though, it has been able to gain back all the manufacturing jobs it lost.

Kentucky has also regained all its manufacturing jobs. Wisconsin and Indiana are almost back to pre-recession levels of manufacturing jobs as well.

Sadly, Illinois’ recovery continues to lag behind.

Here’s an original story that appeared in Wirepoints speculating how many more manufacturing jobs Illinois would have it kept up with our Midwestern neighbors:

Illinois has struggled to recover the manufacturing job losses it experienced during the depth of the Great Recession. The state has only recouped 10,000 of the 100,000 jobs it lost since its worst moment in 2010.

In contrast, its neighboring states have fared far better since their manufacturing lows.

Michigan’s recovery has been the most remarkable. Its manufacturing sector has grown at a rate of 3.6 percent a year since its recession lows. Kentucky’s growth has come in at 2.7 percent annually. Indiana’s, 2.3 percent.

Illinois’ manufacturing recovery has been paltry. It’s grown at a mere 0.3 percent annually.

How many more manufacturing jobs would Illinois have today if it had simply kept pace with its neighbors?

Nearly 147,000 more jobs if it had followed the same recovery path as Michigan.

102,000 more jobs if it had mirrored Kentucky’s recovery.

Even 24,000 more jobs if it had mimicked Iowa – the state with the second-worst recovery after Illinois.


Michigan and Kentucky now have the same number of manufacturing jobs or more than they had in October 2007, just before the Great Recession. Indiana and Wisconsin are not far behind.

All of Illinois’ neighbors have grown significantly since their collapse during the recession. Even Missouri has managed to surpass Illinois with its constant growth.

Illinois, meanwhile, has just 86 percent of the total manufacturing jobs it had in pre-recession 2007.

Illinois’ anti-business atmosphere likely has a great deal to do with its lackluster manufacturing recovery.

Illinois has restrictive labor rules compared to its neighbors and to many states across the country. Its workers comp costs are the 7th-highest in the nation. And companies have to deal with one of the highest tax burdens in the country, including the nation’s highest property taxes.

Illinois lawmakers have done little to reform any of that since the Great Recession.

In comparison, Illinois’ neighbors have passed numerous pro-business reforms since 2008. Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Wisconsin and Missouri have all passed right-to-work laws. Indiana enacted a major tax cut in 2013. And Iowa is considering sweeping changes to its collective bargaining rules.

Politicians in Springfield should take a page out of every neighboring state’s playbook. Illinois needs labor and workers comp reforms, at the very least, to make it more business-friendly.

If not, Illinois manufacturing will continue to stagnate and Illinoisans will continue to suffer as a result.

This story originally appeared in Wirepoints on January 3, 2018.

Manufacturing photo by Mixabest used in accordance with Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.



Tonia Khouri for State Representative 49th DistrictFor more information: Read about Tonia Khouri, her experienceleadership, stand on the issues and her endorsements.





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