3 Cities to Watch
Source: U.S. Department of Labor
Neil Pierson is editor of Scotsman Guide Commercial Edition.
Reach him at (800) 297-6061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Prairie State’s unemployment rate has been consistently higher than
the national average since 2008. Illinois had 4. 7 percent unemployment
this past February, compared to 4.1 percent nationwide, according to U. S.
Department of Labor data. Along with manufacturing, the construction
sector has been particularly hard-hit by job losses, with employment in
the sector declining by nearly 29 percent between 2007 and 2015, labor
A report from IDES this past January indicates that Illinois’ labor-force
participation rate dropped to 64 percent for the month, the lowest level
since 1977. The only age group that has grown its participation rate since
2000 are workers 55 and older, who now comprise 44 percent of the
workforce. High taxes may be complicating employment issues. A report
this past March from personal-finance website WalletHub found Illinois
households earning the median U.S. income had an effective state and
local tax rate of 14. 89 percent, the highest in the nation.
Manufacturing is Illinois’ second-largest employment sector, accounting
for 12. 5 percent of all jobs, according to 2016 numbers from the Illinois
Department of Employment Security (IDES). Most neighboring states
added manufacturing jobs from December 2012 through December
2016, but Illinois lost 18,000 positions, the U.S. Department of Labor said.
The average manufacturing employee in Illinois earned $85,000 in 2016,
the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) said. Chemical products;
machinery; and food, beverage and tobacco products each generated at
least $12 billion for the state in 2015, NAM reported. The state has been criticized, however, for having some of the highest worker-compensation costs
in the Midwest and some of the highest property-tax rates in the nation.
The state capital and home to 115,000 people, it is located about 200
miles from Chicago and 100 miles from St. Louis. Tourists flock to Springfield to visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
St. John’s Hospital broke ground last year on a $48 million expansion
and Memorial Medical Center completed a $152 million addition in
2015. Other major employers in the city include Blue Cross Blue Shield,
Wells Fargo and beverage-equipment manufacturer BUNN.
Many Illinois cities with at least 50,000 people lost population from 2013
to 2016, but Champaign grew at a 3. 45 percent clip, the highest rate
in the state, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Champaign County
had a population of 209,000 as of this past July. Much of the economic
activity centers around the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
which has been lauded for its academic commitment to engineering,
technology and computer sciences. Other large employers in the area
include health care provider Carle, food manufacturer Kraft Heinz Co.
and packaging company Plastipak Holdings Inc.
Located 30 miles to the west of downtown Chicago, it is home to 147,000
people. It’s a relatively young and affluent suburb, with a median age of
35 and a median household income of $109,512, according to the city’s
website. Public safety and family friendliness have helped it become a
regular selection to Money magazine’s annual Best Places to Live lists.
The city issued 6,930 building permits from October 2016 to September
2017, a 15 percent increase over the prior 12 months.
Sources: Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, Chicago Tribune,
Crain’s Chicago Business, City of Chicago, City of Naperville, City of Springfield, History.
com, Illinois Department of Employment Security, Illinois Policy, National Association
of Manufacturers, St. John’s Hospital, The State Journal-Register, U. S. Census Bureau, U. S.
Department of Commerce, U. S. Department of Labor, U. S. News & World Report, WalletHub