Report: Illinois recovery lags behind

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Illinois is a year past its lowest point in job losses and is recovering more slowly than all but a handful of states.

New analysis of federal jobs data by the Illinois Policy Institute shows Illinois has added 408,400 jobs (+ 7.7%) since April 2020, or 7.7% of jobs lost since then.

The only states that added a lower percentage of jobs were Nebraska (+ 7.5%), Louisiana (+ 7.5%), Iowa (+ 7.4%), Oklahoma (+ 5 , 9%), Wyoming (+ 4.7%) and New Mexico (+ 4.2%). %), indicates the report.

“Illinois employment levels remain 424,800 below their pre-pandemic peak in January 2020, meaning Illinois has regained less than half of the jobs it lost during the pandemic The report says. “As a result, Illinois struggles with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.”

Job friendliness and the severity of lockdowns, two of the most politicized aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, don’t seem to be the only deciding factors. New York, which has seen some of the toughest mitigation measures, had recovered 13.1% of its jobs since April 2020, the ninth best in the country. It’s often measured against Florida, a heavy tourist industry, which has recouped 9.8% of its lost jobs.

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Bryce Hill, senior IPI data analyst and author of the report, said on Tuesday that the state’s well-balanced economy is faring better than others, which may have been more dependent on tourism and industries. services, but was struggling to bring back the lost jobs.

“Although we’ve seen fewer job declines in other states, compared to the pre-pandemic period, Illinois is still missing about 6.9% of the jobs it previously held,” he said. he declares. “It’s the 37th worst in the country.”

Hill said Illinois employers face one of the highest tax burdens in the country with the prospect of higher taxes and minimum wage costs. Mark Grant, who heads the Illinois chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business, says these have long affected job creators in the state, but there are several other factors.

“I’m not sure about other states, but here in Illinois our members are saying they’re trying to hire but not getting as many candidates as they would have hoped,” a- he declared. “People can stay home to care for children or older family members, or they can still be concerned about the coronavirus, but we believe that one of the main reasons many people choose not to apply is the weekly federal unemployment supplement of $ 300.

Grant said the federal supplement was needed when COVID forces businesses to shut down or downsize and no one is hiring, but as Illinois’ economy has improved “it discourages some people” from re-entering. the work market.

“Last spring, companies were cutting hours and services due to the pandemic,” he said.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio / www.AltonDailyNews.com)

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