Is job creation in Illinois actually improving? - FOX 35 News Orlando

Is job creation in Illinois actually improving?

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Governor Pat Quinn claims Illinois' economy is improving faster than at any time since the 1980's. His republican challenger, though, complains the state ranks dead last in job creation since the great recession began back in 2008.

While the statements sound contradictory, both can point to statistics backing up their arguments.

Humorist Mark Twain declared, "There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics." However, he never saw the current contest for governor of Illinois, where candidates and their allies are using enough statistics to make even a mathematician's head spin.

“Only Illinois and Alaska have lost jobs since the New Year began. We're worse than Alaska on the year," said Michael Lucci of the Illinois Policy Institute.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor "Statistics" did, indeed, report Illinois lost 5,600 private sector jobs this year -- a figure cited by Republican Bruce Rauner's camp, which also noted that tens of thousands of Illinoisans left the work force. Gov. Quinn's Administration prefers the period from July last year to July this year, when the number of unemployed dropped by a dramatic 157,000.

“127,000 people of that 157,000 found new employment. So, only 30,000 of that is explained by a decline in the labor force. By a factor of 4 to 1, we are seeing people find work,” said Adam Pollet, Director of Illinois of Commerce & Economic Opportunity.

Experts said long-term trends are the most meaningful. Republican Rauner and his allies note that Illinois still has 170,000 fewer jobs than when the Great Recession began in 2008, dead last among all 50 states.

Quinn prefers to start with the date when he took office in January, 2010. Illinois' lost 400 jobs since then; bad, but not as bad as Rauner's count.

Republicans and Democrats agree that too many Illinoisans who should be working are not, and it will have to be a top priority of the next governor, no matter who he is.

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