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Numbers show small businesses leading job growth in Illinois

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(The Center Square) – The latest U.S. Census data for the state of Illinois shows small businesses are leading the way in terms of job growth as they added more than 51,000 jobs in 2022.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, unemployment claims in November for Illinois increased by over 1,300 for the week ending Nov. 18. Those claims are the fourth highest in the country during that week.

Despite Illinois historically trailing the national average in terms of total unemployment rate, Illinois Policy Institute Dylan Sharkey said businesses with under 50 employees have been able to grow.

“Small businesses are critical to Illinois’ economy. They are responsible for most of the new jobs created,” Sharkey told The Center Square. “Businesses with 50 employees or fewer created nearly half of the new jobs in Illinois in 2022.”

Sharkey said businesses are growing despite a tax system that works against them.

“They added more than 51,000 jobs to the economy, and operating a business in Illinois is particularly challenging with its tax climate and burdensome regulations,” Sharkey said. “Businesses across the country are dealing with inflation and supply chain issues, but Illinois has the second highest property taxes in the nation, so that is a major hurdle unique to small business owners in our state.”

Small businesses could be the backbone of the state if a recession occurred, he said.

“Nationwide, there is speculation of a recession coming, and small businesses would be the most vital to Illinois’ economy in weathering the effects of that,” Sharkey told The Center Square.

Small businesses in Illinois have added more than 86,000 jobs since before the pandemic.

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