(The Center Square) – With Illinois’ unemployment rate now tied for fourth worst in the country and the state having only added in the neighborhood of 2,500 jobs in May, Republican state Sen. Steve McClure says there have been warning signs for years.
“It shows that the attack against businesses by Gov. [J.B.] Pritzker and Democrats that has been going on for years is really taking a toll,” McClure told The Center Square. “Doing business is a struggle for many in this state and it’s not hard to see why that is.”
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that the state’s overall unemployment rate dipped to 4.1% in May, down one-tenth of a percent from the month before, but McClure argues that hardly tells the story.
“I think residents and businesses are continuing to leave Illinois because they don’t feel safe here and Democrats are only passing bills that make them feel less assured,” he said. “We’ve got to address our crime problem, all the corruption in state government, pass workers compensation reform and do all we have to in order to lower taxes for businesses across the state.”
As it is, data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that 85% of Illinois communities lost population in 2022, with the losses essentially stretching to every area of the state. Overall, the state lost upwards of 105,000 residents, with the Internal Revenue Service adding that primarily working-age adults took in the neighborhood of $11 billion in wealth with them.
In May, the construction (2,400) and manufacturing (1,700) sectors suffered the greatest losses, while government added the most jobs at 2,600. McClure argues those numbers alone offer yet another example of just how out of whack state government’s priorities have become.
“It goes to show you how private businesses in this state are struggling, while Pritzker and Democrats work to put even more burden on taxpayers,” he said. “Everything is just really upside down.”
Indeed, a series of recent surveys show 51% of residents insist they would leave the state if given the opportunity with the biggest reason being high taxes.
“And there’s no relief in sight,” added McClure, noting that the grocery tax and a second gas tax are set to kick in on July 1.