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Illinois tied for third worst unemployment rate in country

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(The Center Square) – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows Illinois’ unemployment rate increased to 4.9% during the month of May, tying for the third-worst in the country.

With the state adding just 43,900 jobs in May compared to the year before, Illinois ranked No. 44 among all states for non-farm job growth at just 0.7%.

State Rep. Steve McClure, R-Springfield, said it’s not hard to decipher why Illinois stands where it does when it comes to the state’s struggling job market.

“[Gov. J.B. Pritzker] has created a terrible environment for businesses and when businesses are struggling they don’t hire,” McClure told The Center Square. “Gov. Pritzker has created a state that incentivizes people not to work and that is one of the reasons why crime is consistently spiking so much because people are finding other ways to make money through criminality. They don’t apply for jobs because Gov. Pritzker has made it so much easier for people to get away with committing crimes.”

As it is, Illinois saw its highest growth rates in “other services” where 9,800 jobs were added, followed by state and local government sectors at 3.7% each. On the flip side, professional and business sectors saw the largest net decline over the year, dropping nearly 25,000 jobs compared to 2023.

As the state’s job market continues to sputter post-pandemic, its population losses have also continued to mount with U.S. Census Bureau data showing for the 10th straight year the state lost population in 2023.

McClure said things stand to get worse before they get better, especially now that the state deals with its growing migrant crisis.

“[Pritzker] is now spending nearly a billion dollars in new programs for noncitizens with no restrictions on those funds,” he said. “When you’re handing out a billion dollars to people, what incentive is there to work?”

McClure added the state’s high taxes, including those found in the state’s new budget, only make it harder for businesses to grow and hire.

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