By Illinois Radio Network
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois has more jobs than people looking for work, according to a new report from Pew Charitable Trusts.
The report found 39 states have more jobs than job seekers. In Illinois, there were 0.9 people looking for work for every one open job. Ten years ago, the ratio was 7.9 job seekers to every job opening.
The tight labor market creates issues for employers. However, it can be good news for people looking for work.
Ryan Nunn, the policy director with the Hamilton Project, an economic policy center at the Brookings Institution, said those looking for work have an advantage.
“It’s worth pointing out that this is a great thing for workers,” he said. “It’s easier to find new jobs and receive wage increases.”
The tight labor market has been a problem for manufacturing companies in Illinois. Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, pointed out that the average manufacturing worker in Illinois earns more than $80,000 a year in wages in benefits. He said that getting the word out to more people about the positive aspects of manufacturing careers attract more people to open jobs.
“We have to do a better job of telling the manufacturing story and getting people working in these careers,” Denzler said.
The labor shortage has more of an impact in downstate Illinois than other parts of the state.
“The challenge is statewide, but certainly the labor pool is smaller downstate and in rural communities,” Denzler said. “The smaller communities have a smaller base to pull workers from.”
Denzler said the issue could compound itself.
“Once people move out of a town, they might not move back,” he said.
Denzler applauded Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s recent announcement of a five-year economic plan for Illinois that included a focus on workforce development.
Illinois Radio Network can be reached at News@WJBC.com.