Illinois sheds 7,900 jobs in May despite national recovery from COVID-19

Illinois saw six of 11 major industries shrink payrolls in May as the nation continued to regain jobs lost during the COVID-19 recession.

New data released June 17 shows Illinois lost 7,900 jobs from mid-April to mid-May, marking the first month of job losses for the state in 2021.

The latest jobs report is also a stark departure from the national experience, as the nation as a whole added 559,000 jobs in May.

The largest job losses came from the government sector, which shed 10,000 (-1.3%) jobs and the construction industry which lost 5,600 (-2.5%) of its jobs last month, according to data from the Illinois Department of Employment Security in conjunction with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Financial activities also saw payrolls decrease by 1,300 (-0.3%); Trade, transportation and utilities experienced a decline of 1,000 (-0.1%); information lost 400 (-0.5%) positions; and Other services shed 100 (-0.04%) jobs.

While the state as a whole and a majority of industries lost jobs last month, some sectors of the economy added jobs. Leisure and hospitality added the most, 6,300 (+1.4%); manufacturing gained 2,000 (+0.4%) positions; educational and health services added 1,900 (+0.2%) jobs; while professional and business services payrolls grew by 300 (+0.03%). Mining payrolls remained unchanged from April to May.

The dismal jobs report leaves Illinois’ unemployment rate unchanged at 7.1%, while the national unemployment rate declined to 5.8%.

Unfortunately for the nearly 440,000 Illinoisans still out of work, Illinois lawmakers passed a $42.3 billion budget that contains a $655 million tax hike, while still remaining unbalanced. Those taxes specifically strike at job creation.

Instead of continuing to repeat past mistakes, Illinois should improve its finances and continue to provide core services by implementing constitutional pension reform. The Illinois Policy Institute is offering that along with other fiscal fixes to give overburdened Illinois taxpayers a path to declining debt, lower taxes and more effective state government.

Illinois needs its labor markets to improve so the state can create more jobs and grow the tax base, not to pass more and higher taxes that cost the state more jobs and residents.

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