State Report: Illinois’ Labor Force “Remains Depressed,” Growth Behind “Midwest Average”

A new state report released by the Commission of Government Forecasting & Accountability (CGFA) paints a less than rosy assessment of Illinois’ economy.

The “economy is slowing” and Illinois’ job growth lags both regional and national trends, according to the “State of Illinois Economic Forecast” released by CGFA.

Contrary to Governor Pritzker’s upbeat state-of-the state address, the economic forecast noted that:

“Illinois will be a step behind the Midwest average and a few steps behind the nation in job and income growth over the long term. Weakening population trends and deep-rooted fiscal problems such as mounting pension obligations and a shrinking tax base represent the biggest hurdles to stronger economic performance. Persistent out-migration will weigh on the strength of employment and income gains.”

Not all was doom and gloom, however, as the report noted that higher revenues had “enabled Illinois to balance its budget, increase payments toward outstanding liabilities, and contribute more money to pensions and the rainy-day fund.”

As a result, the report noted, the state had received several credit rating upgrades.

The state’s unemployment rate, however, remains one of the worst in the country. With an unemployment rate of 4.7%, Illinois’ unemployment ranks number 47 among the states (trailed only by New York, California, and Nevada), according to December 2023 data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The “State of Illinois Economic Forecast” was prepared by Moody’s Analytics.

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