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Illinois Has The Highest Unemployment Rate In The Country

By aaroncynic in News on May 27, 2016 7:29PM

Gov. Bruce Rauner is a little over a year into his first term as governor, and Illinois now ranks #1 in the nation for unemployment. Illinois tied for the top spot with Alaska; both states have unemployment rates of 6.6 percent. Illinois alone, though, has the highest jobless rate for African American men: 14.1 percent, ABC7 reports.

The state budget impasse, which is about to turn a full year old, has contributed to Illinois' high unemployment. Social services and other entities that rely partly or fully on state funding have had to make huge cutbacks, which has meant layoffs. Additionally contributing is the state’s sluggish job growth rate. According to the Chicago Tribune, Illinois added 67,500 jobs in the year ending in April—a 1.1 percent growth rate, lower than the national growth rate of 1.9 percent.

Predictably, the governor and conservatives have blamed the legislature for the issue, while those leaning left blame the governor. "Other states are being business friendly," Ted Dabrowski of the right-leaning Illinois Policy Institute told ABC. "They understand that jobs and growth are important, not just to people's prosperity but also to their budgets' function."

But the idea that “job creators” and others are leaving the state because Illinoisans are “Taxed Enough Already” or that Rauner’s “Turnaround” agenda will save us from darkness is more of a speculative libertarian fantasy, writes Curtis Black at the Chicago Reporter.

“Rauner appears to think the pain caused by the budget impasse is worth it: If he can bust unions, reduce wages, cut public services, drive state retirees into penury and perhaps drive Chicago Public Schools into bankruptcy, he’ll create a capitalist wonderland where the magic of free enterprise will take care of everything.”

Those cuts to public services and reductions in wages might make life great for a handful of people, but the consequences have already been dire for those relying on public services, and will cost Illinoisans more as the impasse drags on.