It's no secret Illinois is having a rough time creating jobs, which arguably will be the foremost important issue when voters head to the polls in November.
Nationally, Illinois ranks 42nd for job creation since the end of the Great Recession, according to an Associated Press report and Crain's Chicago Business.
In June 2014, Illinois had 5.81 million jobs -- and increase of three percent from 5.64 million in June 2009.
Illinois is the eighth-worst since the Great Recession. Here are 10 through six of the worst. See the fifth through number one worst at Reboot Illinois.
Tie - 9. Missouri and Virginia
Tie - 7. Maine and New Hampshire
Spinning job numbers so they mold with one side's desired political rhetoric is a bipartisan practice, especially in an election year. For example, take a look at how each gubernatorial candidate used June's 7.1 percent unemployment rate as campaign munition against one another.
Gov. Pat Quinn touted the fourth consecutive month of a declining jobless rate, largest quarterly drop since records began in 1976 and 6,000 new jobs as a clear sign of the state's steady improvement -- though unemployment statistics don't incorporate individuals who gave up looking for work and dropped out of the labor force.
"The bottom line, just as a matter of fact, is that there are more people working in Illinois today than there were when the governor took office," noted Quinn's campaign spokeswoman Brooke Anderson.
On the other hand, Republican candidate Bruce Rauner consistently highlights that Illinois has lost and continues to lose thousands of jobs under Quinn's leadership and policies.
"Illinoisans are still suffering after years of Pat Quinn's high tax policies, and the state has lost thousands of jobs this year alone," said Rauner's spokesman Mike Schrimpf after the release of June's preliminary unemployment figures on July 17.
Both of these statements are correct.
Quinn took office in January 2009 when the recession was battering the state, not to mention he inherited a bad situation from former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Since then, roughly 9,600 Illinois jobs have been added under Quinn, however, the governor's office starts its count a year later and when the Illinois Department of Employment Security says the recovery began. In this case, about 250,000 jobs have been created in the private sector, but if you include government positions, that number drops to roughly 228,000. And by not including Quinn's first year in office, neither are the 219,000 jobs lost.
As for Rauner, he is also correct when he says the state "has lost thousands of jobs this year alone." Between December 2013 and June 2014, a total of 18,100 jobs have disappeared in the private sector, or a total of 15,500 non-farm positions if government is included.
Putting politics aside, there's no denying Illinois still lags far behind the nation and its regional neighbors in job creation, and has the second-highest unemployment rate among bordering states.
While the state economy appears to be on the mend, it's certainly a slow one and Illinoisans are running low on patience. Job growth during the coming months could have a telling impact in November.
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