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Fun with numbers

Thursday, Feb 6, 2014

* Lee Newspapers

Adam Pollet, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, said statistics show Illinois did not lose jobs in 2012, which has become a key argument among GOP lawmakers and Republican candidates for governor heading into the 2014 elections.

“We are a net importer of jobs,” Pollet told members of the House Revenue Committee. “We gained 1,400 jobs from business relocation in 2012. Since May 2013, we have led the Midwest in the number of jobs created. We are not losing jobs in Illinois.”

“This narrative that businesses are leaving the state is just not factually true,” Pollett said. […]

According to a report cited by Pollet, 283 businesses moved out of Illinois in 2012, while 275 businesses moved into the state. But, the new businesses had more jobs than the ones that moved elsewhere.

Look, I hate this goofy “death spiral” rhetoric more than just about anyone.

But, c’mon, man. Businesses are leaving the state. Pollet’s own numbers clearly show that. We may be a “net importer,” but we’re most certainly losing a lot of businesses.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


30 Comments
  1. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 11:13 am:

    Plus, according to the sidebar it looks like we lost the Gathering of the Juggalos to Missouri. ;)


  2. - Illinois Policy Institute - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 11:14 am:

    Yeah, and now Pat Quinn is letting the Gathering of the Juggaloes just walk away. Governor Bruce Rauner will bring Insane Clown Posse back to Illinois.


  3. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 11:19 am:

    Year Period labor force employment unemployment unemployment rate

    2012 Jan 6588318 5987830 600488 9.1

    2012 Dec 6617435 6045497 571938 8.6

    He is technically correct. What is not discussed is the number of discouraged workers who have left the workforce, and our relative performance with respect to our neighbors and the nation.


  4. - Frank - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 11:24 am:

    It would be nice if a more detailed analysis would be done as to exactly why businesses are leaving and why they are coming here…that would give the numbers some meaning.

    The same applies to population loss. (Or more accurately, slower population growth.) Illinois has been losing population to Florida and Arizona since the day air conditioning was invented. How much of this movement is new and how much of it is just part of a decades-long demographic trend?


  5. - Tim - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 11:28 am:

    Doesn’t the fact that there was a positive job gain diminish the business-leaving statistic?


  6. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 11:28 am:

    Not sure I get your point, Rich. Businesses (and people) have always moved out of the state. And into the state. You hope and work to make sure the former is less than the latter. Why wouldn’t you focus on the “net”?


  7. - Glenn - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 11:30 am:

    Corporations say to government: Cut my taxes or we leave.

    Corporations say to workers: Cut wages paid or we leave.

    So the rising share of taxes are paid out of declining wages; the people and their governments have no leverage in this race to the bottom.


  8. - No Peotone Airport - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 11:30 am:

    As long as Mr. Pollet has undertaken the dynamic analysis to show Illinois was a net job importer in 2012, perhaps he could also disclose the aggregate income of the jobs that moved out vs. the jobs that moved in, i.e., did this “net jobs gain” come with a corresponding gain in net income?


  9. - Judgment Day (Road Trip) - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 11:35 am:

    ““We gained 1,400 jobs from business relocation in 2012.”

    So, worst case is over 24 months, we’ve ‘gained’ 58.33 jobs (inflow; 1400/24 = 58.333) per month in the entire state. Best case is over 12 months, we’ve ‘gained’ 116.67 jobs (inflow; 1400/12 = 116.67) per month in the entire state.

    There’s a ‘winner’ of an argument. Don’t stand on that one for too long, you’ll probably die from the fall.

    Maybe Sam Zell could tell Pollet what Illinois is doing wrong….

    Cheap entertainment….


  10. - Bill - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 11:36 am:

    - Frank - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 11:24 am:

    It would be nice if a more detailed analysis would be done as to exactly why businesses are leaving and why they are coming here…that would give the numbers some meaning.

    I would think that KURT ERICKSON, Lee Springfield Bureau Chief, would have anticipated that as part of the narrative of this quoted article/story of his. Guess not.


  11. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 11:43 am:

    Frank -
    ==Illinois has been losing population to Florida and Arizona since the day air conditioning was invented.==

    I agree. As an immigrant to Illinois, my observation is the biggest problem with the business climate is the climate. America is a nation of weather wimps.


  12. - check your math - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 11:46 am:

    This graph is instructive: http://data.bls.gov/generated_files/graphics/latest_numbers_LASST170000000000005_2003_2013_all_period_M12_data_employment.gif

    It’s the raw number of people with jobs over time.


  13. - PublicServant - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 11:46 am:

    There is no doubt that some companies are leaving the state, and some are coming into the state. It’s not the fact that some are leaving, its how close the spin being given as to why that’s happening is to the actual truth. I’m pretty sure republican spin and the truth have rarely met.


  14. - Juvenal - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 11:47 am:

    Anonymous and Pollet are correct.

    I know a guy that just moved to Michigan.

    Does that mean Michigan is rebounding? No.

    People and businesses move. Alot.

    Net migration is what matters.

    That is not to say that we should ignore those immigration numbers.

    The economy grows by retaining businesses in Illinois and attracting businesses from out of state.

    But because relocation is such a rare event, the policy focus is misplaced.

    The policy focus should be on growing existing businesses and creating new ones.

    unfortunately, news media is focused on factory openings and closings, and policymakers chase those headlines.


  15. - plutocrat03 - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    As mentioned above, a net increase in the number of jobs is only part of the answer.

    The rest of the answer requires us to know if the net wages paid are greater or less than before. Any of that data available?


  16. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 11:57 am:

    This is Illinois.
    We have never before had to have this conversation. The fact that we are is a problem. The fact that many Illinoisans agree is another.

    It would be as if Floridians were believing that there were fewer tourists. Illinois is supposed to be where America works. Chicago was known as the “City that worked” - further playing on this famous positive attribute of ours.

    It shouldn’t be necessary to defend. But it has become necessary and that is not good.


  17. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 11:57 am:

    ===diminish the business-leaving statistic? ===

    Yes, it does. But they’re still leaving.


  18. - Jake From Elwood - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    Wow, Bill and VanMan posting on the same thread. This must be Throwback Thursday all the way back to 2009!
    Welcome back fellas!
    JFE


  19. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 12:44 pm:

    As has been emphasized here many, many times the overall reality is neither as grim as Republicans make it out to be nor as rosy as Democrats make it out to be.

    Selective measurements can say all kinds of things. For example, if we measure November-December 2013, we lost jobs. If we measure October-December 2013, we gained jobs. That is because the October-November job gains were larger than the November-December job losses.

    Are we recovering? Yes.
    Are we recovering more slowly than other states? Yes.

    Do we have some great strengths? Yes.
    Do we have some great weaknesses? Yes.

    Can we look at just the good stuff? Yes.
    Can we look at just the bad stuff? Yes.

    The broader picture and health of our state is more than just individual areas of progress or regression.


  20. - Mittuns - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 12:53 pm:

    What’s the solution? Surely it is not doling out more EDGE tax credits to the big business hostage takers.

    The ability of state government to stimulate real job growth is far overstated, unless you believe the race to the bottom policies engulfing the South are preferential.


  21. - Soccermom - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 1:01 pm:

    Sorry, but I’m with Adam on this one. If we are attracting more businesses than we’re losing, that’s a good thing.

    It’s a dynamic process. I mean, we lost the Office Max-Office Depot hq to Boca Raton. I think that has less to do with the policies of our state and more to do with where the new CEO wanted to live. (Hint — somewhere the mercury doesn’t spend a lot of time below the zero mark.)

    Businesses move, for lots of reasons. I think we should do a better job of attracting business, and I think we should do a MUCH better job of growing our own. But looking at only one side of the ledger, the jobs lost column, gives a skewed view.


  22. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 1:13 pm:

    As Lili Von Schtup would say, “they’re always coming and going and going and coming….”


  23. - The Colossus of Roads - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 1:16 pm:

    Simple math. 1+1 is always 2. It is how you calculate the 1’s that make numbers creative.


  24. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 1:23 pm:

    === Net migration is what matters. ===

    That is an important measure.

    According to the most recent Census numbers, “Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Vermont and Illinois posted the slowest population growth, all at or near a tenth of 1 percentage point.”
    http://articles.latimes.com/2013/dec/30/nation/la-na-census-data-20131231

    We gained 13,493 residents. Is that good? Yes.
    We grew by 0.11%. Is that good? No.

    It’s like a company or person with $12 million in the bank crowing about making $13,943 last year.

    Did they make money? Yes. More than many.

    Are they banking big buck$? No. More than likely, they are asking some hard questions about why their income growth is slowing down so much after many years of even stronger profits.

    We are moving forward.

    But we are also getting passed by the faster kids in the class.


  25. - Skeptical - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 1:27 pm:

    Agree with Juvenal. Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) efforts are substantially more important that “smokestack chasing” efforts. BRE yields measurable results cost-effectively. Smokestack chasing is high-visibility for soundbites but also costly, and frankly, not particularly effective in providing substantial increases in state employment. As various peer reviewed journals have argued for years, smokestack chasing turns out to be a zero-sum game. By the way, it seems to me at face value, no matter how you calculate the numbers such as divided by 12, etc. the bottom line here is that a net importer is not a net exporter. As anyone knows who appreciates the power of logic, one counterexample to a premise, say that “jobs are fleeing the state in great numbers”,is a defeater to the monstrosity of rhetoric foisted on an unsuspecting public by those with less than morally pristine agendas.


  26. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 2:30 pm:

    If the only solution to this problem is stripping unions and forcing down wages, while giving wealthy corporations the breaks, then I am squarely against this. There are other solutions beside driving down corporate costs and wages. I support breaks for corporations, but it has to be balanced.

    Clearly we have a lopsided economy, with almost all of the gains going to the top. We have ample evidence that corporate tax breaks alone don’t make for a healthy economy.

    Here is a report showing that in Illinois, pensions are 77% of the cost of corporate tax breaks. Corporate tax breaks are more expensive, per this report.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/01/30/state-pension-obligations-can-be-crushing-but-corporate-welfare-costs-more/

    There is good news for labor in the state of Tennessee. The Chattanooga VW plant appears to be ready to unionize. The union supporters fought for this because in Germany, there are works councils that require union members. This could have big implications for futher unionization.

    Unions are entities like anything else, and if they don’t cooperate in the process and are too inflexible, they should get their share of the blame. In this story, howevery, the atmosphere is good because UAW made concessions to help GM and Chrysler recover.

    http://news.yahoo.com/us-auto-union-close-big-win-thanks-germany-034945292.html;_ylt=A0LEVzU47_NS_mkA5iFXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTB0OGFhMDdhBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkA1ZJUDMyN18x

    And finally, we have to grow industries and businesses here. That can be done with fracking and marijuana legalization.


  27. - Bigtwich - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 3:32 pm:

    Plus, according to the sidebar it looks like we lost the Gathering of the Juggalos to Missouri. ;)

    Will the last clown out of Illinois turn off the lights.


  28. - walker - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 3:37 pm:

    ====The narrative that businesses are leaving the state is just not factually true.====

    Companies are always moving. Some leave Illinois for other states, but more come to Illinois from other states. Pollett relayed the simple picture.

    What’s to argue about?

    The narrative that we are in the toilet, with businesses flowing out in a rush, is just political nonsense.


  29. - Chi - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 3:46 pm:

    Would also like analysis on the wages paid on the jobs that are coming and the jobs that are going. If a fast food restaurant with 12 employees moves out but a computer engineering firm with 12 engineers working for it move in, than there is a net economic gain that wouldn’t be counted in the study.


  30. - Bill - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 4:27 pm:

    “- Jake From Elwood - Thursday, Feb 6, 14 @ 12:00 pm:

    Wow, Bill and VanMan posting on the same thread. This must be Throwback Thursday all the way back to 2009!
    Welcome back fellas!
    JFE”

    Jake,
    What are you alluding to?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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