Illinois continues to have the nation’s second-worst unemployment rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ April labor report. The state’s unemployment rate dropped to 9.3 percent in April, down from 9.5 percent in March, and is still nearly two percentage points above the 7.5 percent national average.
The state’s drop in unemployment was not due to good news – the fall was due to people leaving the work force rather than an increase in employment. Illinois lost more than 2,000 payroll jobs and more than 30,000 Illinoisans left the workforce, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
The state’s employment numbers have fared poorly compared to the rest of the nation. Compared to April of last year, Illinois’ unemployment rate increased half a point while both the national and Illinois’ neighbors’ averages experienced decreases. In fact, Illinois was one of only seven states that saw its jobless rate rise since last year.
Unlike Illinois, the state’s neighbors are in line with most of the nation. If Illinois could reach its neighbors’ average unemployment rate, more than 140,000 Illinoisans would be employed.
Illinois’ stalled recovery is a direct consequence of the failed policies the state has pursued. Illinois stalled on pension reform, increased taxes and spent far beyond its means. Our neighbors have done the opposite and have seen their economies markedly improve.
Springfield’s current policies aren’t working. The fact that Illinois is one of only seven states worse off than it was a year ago is proof.
Fortunately, there are ways Illinois can move forward. The Illinois Policy Institute has laid out a plan to end the fiscal and budgetary crisis in Illinois, a prerequisite to creating more jobs and restoring economic prosperity.
The road to recovery begins with politicians adopting pro-growth policies.
Ted Dabrowski is Vice President of Policy at the Illinois Policy Institute
John Klingner is Policy Research Assistant at the Institute