In what one analyst called an alarming trend, nearly one-quarter of jobs created in the past year in Illinois were government positions.
Government jobs in Illinois outpaced manufacturing jobs in the most recent jobs report from the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Government jobs grew more than 14,800 over 12 months. Manufacturing grew by 12,800.
Wirepoints founder Mark Glennon said the growth of manufacturing jobs is good, but even those gains were outpaced by government hiring.
“This imbalance between the growth rates is not healthy,” Glennon said. “If government is growing faster than the private sector, we’ve got a problem.”
He said Illinois’ growth in manufacturing coincides with President Donald Trump’s economic policies designed to improve the country’s manufacturing sector, but in Illinois, the growth of government jobs still outpaces manufacturing growth.
IDES said most of the new government jobs over the past 12 months, most were from local governments. There were 1,400 new state government jobs, but 1,100 fewer federal government jobs.
Across all sectors, Illinois gained 59,300 jobs over the last 12 months in Illinois. Government posts made up a quarter of that.
Glennon said the addition of new tech and communication jobs is great for downtown Chicago, but more rural areas where manufacturing provides a good salary is very important to the state’s overall economy.
“It adds to the payroll costs, which is the largest component of government spending and I don’t see much hope for reduced overall costs of government,” Glennon said.
IDES said local units of government added jobs across the board. While municipalities and park districts hired employees, most of the jobs were at school districts. Glennon said that makes sense.
“I would suspect school districts because we had that big jump in spending on school districts,” Glennon said. “The new school funding formula added $350 million, so that presumably goes largely into payroll.”
Glennon said government growing faster than blue-collar manufacturing jobs is a troubling trend that could lead to more fiscal instability and more burden on taxpayers.