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Illinois Jobs, Economy Lacking

Posted on September 17, 2008

As of late, jobs in Illinois aren’t growing, and the state is lagging behind others in many facets.

In July 2008, Illinois had a total non-farm employment of 5,979,600, the same as last year, according to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Illinois Chamber of Commerce recently hired GrowthEconomics to create an Illinois Economic Competitiveness Scorecard to stack the Illinois economy amongst that of other states. The report found Illinois fell from sixth to 16th in per capita income, from 10th to 13th in gross domestic product and the state ranked 49 out of 50 for its regulatory environment.

On the flip side, the report showed Illinois has average energy cost, strong service sector productivity and economic diversity. However, there are several steps the state can take to recoup its economy and create more jobs in Illinois, according to an article by The Business Ledger.

“We should build a stronger compact between employers and educators so we’re preparing our children for the jobs of today and tomorrow—whether that job demands a college education, a graduate degree, skills training in community or technical colleges, high school degree or union apprenticeships,” the article notes.

“Workforce capability is a critical component of Illinois’s future,” the article continues. “Thousands of jobs are going begging for lack of a prepared or skilled workforce. There is demand for high tech workers and skilled craftsmen. There is demand in the industrial sector for a new generation of workers to replace the baby-boom retirement bubble. The simple point is that we cannot afford to have uneducated, unskilled, untrained and non-productive citizens and expect to have job growth and prosperity.”

The state also should be more friendly to entrepreneurs, as well as help existing employers expand, recruit and grow. Illinois also should focus on international trade, making sure it’s part of the global economy, as one-third of the state’s gross domestic product already comes from international trade.

Finally, Illinois should take time to focus on its strengths and improve its government. Agriculture, transportation, energy production, health care, financial markets, hospitality, professional services and manufacturing are all important industries. Education, research, electronics, technology, international trade, healthcare and the pursuit of alternative energy sources and efficiencies will help ready for tomorrow’s economy.

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Prairie Advocate
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