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End of middle class predicted – State sees huge drop in manufacturing jobs

From ILLINOIS — Manufacturing jobs are leaving the state at a rapid rate. The Illinois Manufacturing Association (IMA) says, if reforms are not made within the next few years, the middle class could come to an end.

The numbers are alarming. Illinois lost more than 300,000 manufacturing jobs the past decade. No surprise, most of those jobs are leaving for other states.

“40% of the manufacturing jobs in the Chicagoland region have disappeared. We have seen job losses 25% – 30% of all the major urban areas throughout the state.”

On average, manufacturing jobs in Illinois pay $74,000 a year, including benefits. That’s why advocates fear those good-paying jobs may soon disappear.

“We’re fearful if we don’t see anything happen in the next year, we’re going to see more significant job loss because companies have kind of given up on Illinois.”

IMA unveiled five key points to get the state back in order. First, leaders say it starts with a budget, then moving on to workers’ comp reform.

“For new construction, new jobs, so we brought to the state the Workers’ Compensation System is foresighted the reason why Illinois often loses out.”

Another thing they’d like to see is strengthening the education and workforce system to ensure there are more qualified workers for jobs.

“That’s why we’re sounding the alarm. It’s time legislators and the governor focus on getting this done and bringing those jobs back to Illinois.”

Some put the blame on lawmakers because, without a budget, none of these reforms can begin.

Almost every state surrounding Illinois has made progress creating manufacturing jobs. Since the recession, Michigan has added more than 170,000; Indiana follows with about 84,000; Wisconsin added more than 44,000 manufacturing jobs.