As Illinois’ unemployment rate fell to its lowest point since August 2008, Governor Pat Quinn today visited Laborers Local 362 in Bloomington and Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 149 in Savoy to discuss the state’s ongoing economic comeback. Illinois’ unemployment rate dropped to 6.8 percent in July, its lowest level since August 2008. Today’s event is part of the Governor’s agenda to create jobs and drive Illinois’ economy forward.
“Illinois’ comeback is going strong and we’ve got more work to do,” Governor Quinn said. “Hardworking men and women across the state are driving our economy forward and supporting local communities. Today’s news that unemployment has dropped to its lowest level in nearly six years is further proof that we are heading in the right direction.”
Illinois’ unemployment rate declined in July to 6.8 percent from June’s 7.1 percent, according to data released earlier today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security. During July, 11,200 new private sector jobs were added, including 3,900 manufacturing jobs. The state’s unemployment rate has fallen steadily since July 2013, when it stood at 9.2 percent, and has completed its steepest 12-month decline of 2.4 percentage points since August 1984. Since February 2010, Illinois has added 263,100 private sector jobs.
Construction payrolls are up by 8,500 jobs since the beginning of the year, nearly four times as strong as the gain posted for this same period in 2013. Specialty trade contractors’ payrolls posted healthy gains for the third straight month, fueled in large part by Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program.
Governor Quinn’s Illinois Jobs Now!, the state’s first capital construction program in a decade, is a $31 billion program supporting an estimated 439,000 construction jobs. Authorizing the program was one of the Governor’s first priorities when he took office in 2009. Last month he signed a bill that authorizes a new capital construction bill that invests $1.1 billion in road and bridge projects to improve transportation and create an estimated 14,300 additional jobs.
Since taking office in 2009, Governor Quinn has enacted worker’s compensation reform and unemployment insurance reform to make Illinois a better place to do business. Other major fiscal reforms such as pension reform and Medicaid restructuring are restoring fiscal stability to Illinois. Today Governor Quinn is pushing a new tax cut for businesses that provide job training. Lowering the cost to train workers will make it easier for businesses to create new jobs and will ensure workers have the skills to drive a 21st century economy.
“We are honored to have Governor Quinn coming to Bloomington-Normal,” Richard Veitengruber. IBEW local 197 Business Manager, said. “The Governor has worked hard to make sure that the members of the Livingston/McLean County building and trades, and construction workers throughout the state of Illinois, have ample opportunities for work.”
“Governor Quinn was quick to reach out and help attract Cronus to this community and we are extremely grateful. Pam Cullerton has long been an advocate for the cadets at Lincoln’s Challenge and she has had the backing of Pat Quinn since she began the push for that safe new facility in Rantoul. I don’t know if she could have done it without Governor Quinn’s help,” Matt Langendorf, UA Local 149 Business Manager, said. “These are huge job-producing improvements to our community and its economic development.”
“The increase in jobs that has built up over the last several months has not only had a positive impact on the building and trades, but also small businesses in Illinois and the people who work in factories, grocery stores, and other jobs,” Ronn Morehead, President of the Bloomington Normal Trades and Labor/President of Laborers Local 362, said. “As union workers reach full employment, they spend up to 87 percent of their take home pay in the area economy. We have watched Governor Quinn’s job creation efforts, and are pleased that this economic recovery has reached us.”
Governor Quinn’s Employ Illinois program, an expansion of his efforts to train diverse workers for jobs in the construction industry and provide enhanced financial incentives to businesses that hire them, is being used in many of the projects funded by the $1.1 billion construction bill. Employ Illinois connects job seekers with training and hiring initiatives offered by the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Tollway, and increases the incentive paid to contractors from $10 to $15 an hour for each program graduate they put to work.
For more information on doing business in Illinois, visit www.illinois.gov/dceo.