Illinois unemployment above 10 percent in many metropolitan areas


John Klingner
Policy Research Assistant

Illinois Policy Institute

Illinois has the nation’s second-worst unemployment rate. At 9.1 percent, it’s 1.5 percentage points higher than the national average of 7.6 percent.

The lack of jobs continues to be a major burden to the people of Illinois, at both the state and local level. A year-over-year comparison of Metropolitan Statistical Areas, or MSAs, reveals an uneven unemployment situation across Illinois, according to seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics.

Between May 2012 and May 2013, several metropolitan areas such as Davenport and Springfield saw their unemployment rate drop below the national average – and remain there. On the other hand, Danville and the Chicago area saw their unemployment numbers rise over the last year.

The Decatur area experienced the worst increase, with its unemployment rate rising to 11.5 percent from 10.4 percent. Rockford improved the most, with the area’s unemployment rate dropping to 11 percent from 11.6 percent.

Clearly, many of Illinois’ cities still have far to go along the road to economic recovery. Nearly 100,000 more Illinoisans could be working across the state if Illinois’ employment rate matched the national average.

Screen shot 2013-07-17 at 6.25.45 PM

Every day Illinois fails to provide real work opportunities is another day that the nearly 1 million unemployed and underemployed citizens in Illinois must struggle to make ends meet and to create a better future for themselves and their families. It’s no wonder more than 2 million Illinoisans are dependent on food stamps.

If workers can’t find opportunities in Illinois, they’ll look elsewhere, just as many have already done. Illinois has already lost nearly one person every 10 minutes over the past 15 years.

To restore true prosperity to Illinois, the state will need to dramatically change course. Illinois must overturn the failed policies it’s been following over the past decade and embrace pro-growth and pro-job policies.

The Illinois Policy Institute has laid out a plan that does just that.


Leave a Reply