Illinois’ economy is “tepidly growing,” workers in the state are still
worse off than before the recession, labor experts at the University of Illinois say.
At 9.2 percent, Illinois’ unemployment rate
is still higher than pre-recession levels, and the state’s labor-force
participation rate is on the decline, according to the experts' report “The State of Working Illinois 2013: Labor in the Land of Lincoln.”
wages have been sluggish for most workers since the turn of the
millennium, yet the top 1 percent in Illinois earned at least 635
percent more than the median employed worker each year. All of this has
taken place as a growing number of people in Illinois have plummeted
into poverty. The percentage of those living below the poverty
line shot up significantly from 7.8 percent in 2000 to 12.7 percent in
2012, according to the report.
The study’s authors noted that
the decline in unionization is a key reason why the state has
experienced such high levels of income inequality, which can stifle
economic growth. The report suggests that increasing unionization would not only be a win for workers but also for economic growth in the state. Read more »