* Here’s something I didn’t know about last month’s job numbers…
Illinois led the nation with a 30,000 gain in jobs [in October], followed by California with 25,700 jobs. Virginia, Pennsylvania and Washington rounded out the top five states with the biggest gains.
We’re number one on something good for a change? Wow.
The worst state in October? Wisconsin…
Wisconsin posted the nation’s biggest payroll losses, with employment dropping by 9,700 jobs in October compared with September, according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Tuesday.
The bureau said Wisconsin was the only state with a statistically significant decline in employment, dropping from 2,757,200 jobs in September to 2,747,500 jobs in October.
* But before you begin rejoicing…
Workers filing on-the-job injury claims at just a dozen state institutions clustered in southern Illinois collected nearly one-third of the total $127 million awarded in recent years for permanent impairment under Illinois’ troubled workers’ compensation system, The Associated Press has found.
Leading the pack was Menard Correctional Center in Chester, according to an AP analysis of state records. Employees at the prison, now a focus of three fraud investigations into the injury-claim process, collected $19 million in long-term benefits from 2007 through 2010. That’s nearly twice the amount previously reported.
But beyond Menard, the AP study found a pattern of large payouts at 11 other state facilities within 80 miles - including prisons and juvenile detention centers, mental health and developmental centers. In all, the dozen state facilities accounted for $40.7 million of the compensation for injured workers’ long-term impairment during those four years. […]
For example, workers at Menard blamed repetitive stress injuries on operating the 130-year-old prison’s hand-crank locks. But payments - many for the same type of injury - at the more modern Pinckneyville prison, just 35 miles from Chester, ranked second-highest in the state despite a more up-to-date electronic locking system.
Pinckneyville employees received $4.6 million for permanent-injury claims, compared to only $1.6 million at Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, which opened in 1925 and has twice as many employees.