There’s an urgent need that exists in Springfield to improve Illinois’ manufacturing climate and to revitalize the middle class. The numbers are striking: Illinois lost 10,900 good, high-paying manufacturing jobs in 2016 and more than 304,000 manufacturing jobs since 2000. Since the recession rebound began in 2009, Illinois’ neighboring states have recovered and created more manufacturing jobs, such as Michigan with 163,700, Indiana with 90,800, Ohio with 76,700 and Wisconsin with 41,300, while Illinois is negative 1,600 manufacturing positions. Even Idaho, a state better known for potatoes, created 10,300 manufacturing jobs during this time frame. Drawing attention to this dilemma is Greg Baise, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) who is addressing this topic statewide.
When the state’s industry that contributes the single largest share to Illinois’ GDP – 12.4 percent – loses nearly a quarter of well- paying, middle class positions, it becomes apparent that an Illinois manufacturing and middle class jobs revival is long overdue. On average, an Illinois manufacturing job, including benefits, pays $74,000 annually, adding to the importance of why manufacturing jobs, and not lower-wage service sector positions, need to be created.
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