* The liberal Illinois Economic Policy Institute fact checks some of the Illinois Policy Institute’s recent claims. The most notable…
Claim: “Illinois ranked 42nd nationally for wage growth, well behind all neighboring states.”
This one is not even close. Figure 4 presents BLS information on average hourly earnings for private sector employees by state from January 2014 through May 2015, the latest month for which data is available. Over the previous 17 months, worker wages have increased from $25.05 per hour to $25.77 per hour in Illinois. This equates to a growth of 72 cents per hour, or a 2.9 percent gain. Among neighboring states, the next closest are Kentucky (+70 cents) and Iowa (+67 cents) while incomes have actually declined or remained stagnant in Illinois’ other neighbors. Hourly wages fell by 14 cents per hour in Wisconsin, and marginally improved by 4 cents per hour in Indiana and 9 cents per hour in Missouri.
Um, the Illinois Policy Institute used a different timeline, December 2013 through December 2014. But, guess what? Illinois’ wage growth was 2.8 percent for that time period - only slightly below the 2.9 percent figured cited by the liberal group.
It’s not that we shot way up, it’s that other states dropped a whole lot. North Dakota was on top of the heap during the December-December growth chart at 7.1 percent. Using January 2014 through May 2015 data, it’s at 1.3 percent.
An honest analysis would’ve pointed this out.
* More alleged fact checking…
Claim: “Illinois ranked 29th nationally in job creation, behind most neighboring states.”
Verdict: Only Half True
The Illinois Policy Institute further asserts that “Illinois was tied for 29th nationally in job creation from December 2013 to December 2014.” The timeline from December 2013 to December 2014 may be suspect, given the unusually cold weathers that Illinois has recently experienced. On the other hand, an evaluation of seasonally-adjusted BLS employment data from December 2013 to December 2014 finds that the state added 66,800 workers during that time (Figure 3). This growth in jobs nearly matched similar employment gains in Michigan (+72,500 jobs), Ohio (+72,000 jobs), and Pennsylvania (+70,900 jobs) but was significantly ahead of Wisconsin (+47,100 jobs), Indiana (+45,000 jobs), Missouri (+25,800 jobs), and Iowa (+22,800 jobs).
This Illinois Policy Institute claim may be true when looking at employment gains in terms of the percentage growth rate– and yes, the economy would be better if Illinois’ growth rate were higher from December 2013 to December 2014– but why should Illinois residents care too much about percentage increases when actual jobs are being created in Illinois?
Why should people care? Because we’re twice as big as Indiana but didn’t create all that many more jobs than it did.
That’s a really weak bit of spin.
Back to the drawing board.