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Authored by Ted Dabrowski and Nick Binotti via,

Gov. J.B. Pritzker told America last week on a CNN interview that President Biden has “…done a lot to revive American manufacturing. In my state, you know, we’ve seen jobs and companies coming back to the United States and to Illinois.” 

But the governor’s comment about Illinois is simply not true – not when you measure it by the number of Illinoisans who are actually employed. Fewer people are on Illinois’ employment rolls today than when Gov. Pritzker took office.* 

Back then, in 2019, Illinois employed 6,273,060 workers, according to the BLS’ Local Area Unemployment Statistics Program. Based on the latest numbers, only 6,193,823 are employed today. That’s a loss of 80,000 working Illinoisans during the governor’s tenure.

It’s also the nation’s 3rd-worst performance over that 5-year span. Only California and New York suffered bigger losses in employment than Illinois did.

In contrast, many states’ employment rolls boomed over the same period. The number of Texans employed is up by over 1.3 million people since January 2019. Florida employment is up by over 900,000. 

And states like Arizona, North Carolina and Georgia have all added more than 200,000 to their employment rolls. Below, we show the nation’s top ten leaders in employment creation, as well as the bottom ten. (Data on all 50 states, for both total employment and manufacturing employment, is in the Appendix.)

Illinois manufacturing employment is down as well. Since January 2019, Illinois manufacturing employment is down 12,800, the nation’s 7th-worst performance, according to the BLS’ Current Employment Statistics Program.

And as with overall employment, Texas and Florida crushed the rest of the nation in manufacturing employment. Since 2019, Texas has increased its employment by 73,600, Florida by 44,100. Georgia is up 29,000. Again, we show below the top and bottom 10 performers nationally.

*  *  *

The drop in employment in Illinois shouldn’t come as a surprise given the continued data that shows Illinois losing people to other states. As we reported last week and as the WSJ recently editorialized, the blue-state exodus continues:

It’s hard to see Illinois fixing its employment and population problems as long as our governor refuses to be honest about them.


*Note: Our analysis focuses on the employment numbers from the BLS household survey, not the jobs number as released in the payroll survey. The two employment measures differ in that the household survey counts the number of employed individuals, while the payroll survey counts the number of jobs. The distinction matters because someone with multiple jobs will be counted multiple times in the payroll survey, but only once in the household survey.


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