By Michael Lucci -
Illinois’ metropolitan statistical areas are a long way from jobs recovery, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The release shows that Danville, Decatur and Rockford are still plagued with double-digit joblessness.
All 10 of Illinois’ metro areas have jobless rates above the national average. Despite economic improvement and jobless rates falling nationally, Illinois metro areas remain far from a recovery.
All 10 metro areas still have fewer people employed now than when the Great Recession began more than six years ago. Rockford is the furthest from recovery on a percentage basis, with overall employment more than 10 percent below January 2008 levels.
The slow employment recovery is especially troubling considering that the state’s working-age population has been growing. Employment opportunities haven’t even recovered from the recession, let alone kept up with population growth.
Illinois’ cities need to reform pension systems and attract workers so that the cities can achieve sustainable employment growth. As Illinois’ borders come under increasing attack, the state needs to embrace an agenda for growth. Such an agenda should include:
- Transitioning away from income taxation
- Reforming workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance
- Reducing the costs to start and operate a business
This agenda contrasts sharply with the pro-tax, anti-reform status quo. That’s because it’s what Illinois needs, rather than what politicians want.