A Quick Lesson in Job Statistics

There seems to be confusion about jobs and the workforce in Illinois, so let’s clear it up a bit.
by , | October 12, 2011

100,000. 10,000. 36,000. 42,000. These are the numbers that politicians and policy analysts in Illinois have thrown out when referring to jobs and the workforce in the state. There seems to be confusion, so let’s clear it up a bit.

Last week, Illinois House Minority Leader Tom Cross claimed that the state has lost 100,000 jobs in the last few months due to corporate and personal income tax hikes, reports Illinois Statehouse News. Had he said since the beginning of the year and specified the difference between job losses and the number of unemployed, he would have been correct.

According to a U.S. Department of Labor report, almost 100,000 fewer Illinoisans are employed now compared to January. And according to the Illinois Department of Economic Security, the state has created 36,000 more jobs than it lost since that time. The number of people working can’t be compared to the number of jobs created (or lost), though, according to several economic experts, because different statistical measurements are used.

In addition, short-term statistics shouldn’t be used to predict overall trends.

“Monthly snapshots help feed our need for immediacy, but they don’t do a good job at telling us where our economy is going,” said Greg Rivera, IDES spokesman.

Point of the story: Be wary of any job-related statistic or claim and recognize that the number of jobs and number of employed are not interchangeable.

In January, Illinois raised its corporate tax rate from 4.8 percent to 7 percent and its personal income tax rate from 3 percent to 5 percent.


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