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Behind Rauner’s bragging on the economy

Monday, Aug 28, 2017

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column now appears in the Decatur Herald & Review

After years of harshly bad-mouthing the state’s economy, Gov. Bruce Rauner has pivoted in the past couple of weeks as the campaign season has heated up.

“I’m proud since I became governor,” he said recently, “we have recruited and added around 120,000 new jobs to the state of Illinois.”

“But,” Rauner said, “we should be growing at four or five times that rate. But we have red tape and restrictions, regulations on our businesses. I have advocated change that, so far, Speaker Madigan has resisted.”

The governor has repeated the 120,000 new jobs figure at least a couple of times since then and has tossed in the reference to House Speaker Michael Madigan as well.

And, indeed, using nonfarm jobs data from the Illinois Department of Employment Security, over 120,000 net jobs have been added in Illinois since February 2015, the first full month of Rauner’s term in office.

But most of those jobs were gained in 2015, when 83,400 jobs were added. In the 19 months starting in January 2016 through July 2017, just 41,900 jobs were created in Illinois, according to IDES data. Of those, a mere 19,600 jobs were added in Illinois during the first seven months of this year.

The situation is much bleaker if you look at the federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’ numbers.

According to BLS, Illinois added just 40,002 jobs from February 2015 through July 2017.

But, according to BLS, Illinois has lost a whopping 29,877 net jobs from January 2016 through July of this year. Take out July’s horrible preliminary report (which are often revised), and Illinois only added a paltry 530 jobs between January 2016 and June 2017.

It almost goes without saying that Rauner’s political opponents will be sorely tempted to blame those lagging indicators on the two-year state budget impasse. The impasse’s negative impacts really kicked into gear starting in the second half of Fiscal Year 2016, which would be January, when the slide began.

Rauner inherited an economy that, according to the same Illinois Department of Employment Security data he uses, added 61,500 jobs in 2013 and 84,600 in 2014, before Rauner was inaugurated, only to slow to a crawl in the past 19 months, despite a tax cut that took effect at the beginning of 2015. So far this year, the “Trade, Transportation and Utilities” sector has lost 9,300 jobs.

Illinois’ gross domestic product was almost $792 billion in 2016, according to the federal government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. Could a state government’s budget troubles really have an impact on an economy that size?

Well, S&P Global Ratings Managing Director Gabriel Petek said in a statement back in February that Illinois’ “distressed fiscal condition and dysfunctional budget politics now threaten to erode the state’s long-term economic growth prospects.”

In January of this year, another credit rating agency, Moody’s, published a report which claimed Illinois’ “political gridlock is imposing significant economic costs.”

The uncertainty created by the budgetary chaos almost certainly took a toll on the economy. And then there were all the layoffs at Illinois’ public universities due to lack of state funding which were amply documented in the media - 1,500 or so by the end of May.

Gov. Rauner’s opponents will have a point if they pounce on him for damaging the economy. He didn’t create the crisis on his own, but he’s the governor and governors wear the jacket.

And that’s a big reason why he needs to get his own house in order as soon as he possibly can.

As you probably already know, the governor fired his most loyal staff members over a month ago and replaced many of them with staff from the far-right Illinois Policy Institute. Those folks haven’t worked out very well. Rauner has lurched from one self-created public relations crisis to another ever since he purged his staff. A controversy over an Illinois Policy Institute cartoon, of all things, lasted more than a week.

The governor pushed out four of those PR folks last week, but he’ll need to replace them some competent, experienced professionals if he wants to get back on track. I’m not sure if he can ever explain why he’s not at fault for these lousy job numbers, but he surely won’t be able to do that with his current team.

And maybe a new team could help him figure out what to do about these problems. So far, things are not getting better on his watch.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Big Joe - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 9:25 am:

    What an understatement, Rich.

  2. - Stones - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 9:27 am:

    Good column. Is the Governor also going to mention the 38,000 people that left Illinois last year (most in the nation) as evidence of his success?

  3. - Henry Francis - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 9:32 am:

    ==I’m not sure if he can ever explain why he’s not at fault for these lousy job numbers, but he surely won’t be able to do that with his current team.==

    In over 2 years of being governor, when has he taken responsibility, or admitted fault for anything? Facts and reality be darned. It’s just not who he is.

  4. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 9:36 am:

    Just looking at the landscape the Governor is going to do everything possible, just like since he’s been in office, to put anything bad on Madigan. The mail, the TV and the radio will all be Madigan 24/7.
    And after this week he will be the education Governor.

  5. - Big Joe - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 9:43 am:

    How will he explain the billions of dollars that he still owes school districts from last year. And will he be bragging on the closed social services too? How about his attempts to reduce the state universities to pre-closure status? What a record to run on!!

  6. - Thomas Paine - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 9:48 am:

    In the four years before Rauner took office, Illinois added 275K jobs.

    Rauner can try to frame the numbers however he wants, but the moment you stack those figures next to Quinn — whom voters fired - they look pretty awful.

    In baseball terms:

    Quinn’s the starting pitcher who gave up for runs across four innings.

    Rauner is the middle reliever who gave up 2 runs in the 5th, a grand slam in the 6th, and now has runners on 2 & 3 with no outs in the 7th.

    What manager doesn’t go to the bullpen in those circumstances?

  7. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 9:54 am:

    “I’m not sure if he can ever explain why he’s not at fault for these lousy job numbers, but he surely won’t be able to do that with his current team.”

    Exactly what are the Democrats solutions to these problems, other that oppose every single item on the Turnaround agenda?

    Can we look back to 2003 when they took total control of Springfield for the next 12 years and how the economy performed then?

    Do they really believe none of this policies need to be changed?

    No specifics on economic development from either the current Democratic leadership or their candidates for Governor.

    They just want to raise taxes and will not change any of the drivers of the debt.

  8. - Norseman - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 9:56 am:

    === After years of harshly bad-mouthing the state’s economy, Gov. Bruce Rauner … ===

    Yes, this has been Rauner’s messaging.

    === … Moody’s, published a report which claimed Illinois’ “political gridlock is imposing significant economic costs.” ===

    Rauner’s messaging to try and sell his version of reform and his harmful impasse has made Illinois the poster child of dysfunction. Rauner needs to go and the next governor needs to be an advocate for the state.

  9. - wordslinger - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 9:57 am:

    The governor “recruited jobs” to the state? What does that even mean? It’s jabberwocky.

    Can we get a report on the economic damage caused by deliberate sabotage of core state responsibilities? No infrastructure plan. Gutting of community colleges and public universities. Reneging on contracts to private vendors.

    Those are foundations for economic growth that are the state’s responsibility. The only thing for sure that corporate welfare handouts produce is press releases for politicians.

    Can we all recognize the lunacy of the state giving handouts to some private concerns at the same time it is not paying other private concerns for goods and services already delivered under contract?

    How many jobs were lost by reneging on state contracts and running up $10B in unpaid bills, essentially backdoor government borrowing from vendors? What was the cost in lost economic opportunity from that deliberate deadbeatism?

    Seriously, is anyone going to do an accounting on 2.5 years of squeeze the beast? It should be front and center in the 2018 election.

  10. - Lurkin' MBA - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 9:58 am:

    Another dimension to this is the stimulative effect of all this deficit spending. (Paying for services through borrowing brings money into Illinois from all fifty states and the rest of the world. The catch is that sometime in the future that infusion will stop and, perhaps, reverse course to drain our local economy of funds.)
    Doesn’t seem like much spending on investment (rather than consumption/salaries and aid) is going on at the state level — there will be few returns to help with the debt payments.

  11. - City Zen - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 10:04 am:

    ==Rauner inherited an economy that, according to the same Illinois Department of Employment Security data he uses, added 61,500 jobs in 2013 and 84,600 in 2014==

    Not unexpected as nationally, unemployment was down 30% over that same time span. Illinois beat that improvement, but also had to recover from a higher unemployment rate to begin the period (9.2 vs 8).

  12. - Demoralized - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 10:15 am:

    The Governor is forever the victim, right Lucky. I’m still waiting for the day when you tell us all at what point the Governor is responsible for anything.

  13. - City Zen - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 10:18 am:

    ==In the four years before Rauner took office, Illinois added 275K jobs.==

    Once again, not unexpected. Unemployment numbers 1/2011 and 1/2015:

    USA = 9.1, 5.7
    IL = 9.4, 6.0

  14. - Thomas Paine - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 10:27 am:

    @Lucky Pierre:

    Read my post. We added 275K non farm jobs under pat Quinn from 2011-2015, January to January.

    Rauner is lagging behind Pat Quinn in job creation.

    the regional numbers are even more brutal.

    It looks as though the Chicago metro area may have actually added about 200,000 jobs under Rauner, which means that downstate lost 80,000. Verify that yourselves by running the nonfarm jobs report from BLS (unadjusted) for the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington heights metro division.

    I hope someone has some official county by county numbers we can look at soon.

  15. - Ghost - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 10:33 am:

    Trump ran on getting rid of regulations…

    One regulation he temoved…. the requirement that bridges and roads in flood areas like texas be built to withstand flooding. The regulation is new and its removal has not cause any additional problems during the current flood; but its easy to see why its needed and its removal will cause future problems when there is flooding.

    Red tape is what keeps buildings standing in storms and earthwuakes. Red tape is what got Rauner in troublemfor double charging his clients on investments. when you see a cry to cut red tape, its a demand to build shoddy construction and engage in predatory finacial practices

  16. - Generic Drone - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 10:36 am:

    What wordslinger said.

  17. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 10:49 am:

    Illinois has been losing population for decades, is that Rauner’s fault too?

    The Governor is responsible for trying to improve Illinois business climate and create efficiencies in government so tax dollars are not wasted. Say what you want he has certainly tried to reform Illinois government and business environment.

    Interesting Democrats are also supposed to be for economic development and working to improve trust in state government which is the lowest of all 50 states.

    How are they doing or is it just the Governor who falls short?

  18. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 11:00 am:

    ===The Governor is responsible for trying to improve Illinois business climate and create efficiencies in government so tax dollars are not wasted. Say what you want he has certainly tried to reform Illinois government and business environment===

    As Bret Baier asked about Rauner’s failures, ticking them off, one by one…

    “What will be different in a second term?”

    That was Bret Baier, mocking Rauner’s own words, words like “worst business climate”, and “failing” and “broken”

    We all know why Rauner is touting now, don’t we?

    Governors own.

    They always do.

    Rauner can’t have anymore bad-mouthing Illinois, petitions are around the corner, and - Lucky Pierre -, couple things to keep in mind…

    … the tax increase, that Rauner vetoed… that kept Ilinois from junk status…

    … and that veto Rauner used vetoed all the good that’s funded… going on now?


    ===Exactly what are the Democrats solutions to these problems, other that oppose every single item on the Turnaround agenda?

    Can we look back to 2003 when they took total control of Springfield for the next 12 years and how the economy performed then?

    Do they really believe none of this policies need to be changed===

    … you’re saying Rauner changed nothing? How can Rauner then claim the successe?

    … what WILL be different in a Rauner second term? It even puzzled Bret Baier, lol

  19. - Demoralized - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 11:11 am:

    ==Illinois has been losing population for decades, is that Rauner’s fault too?==

    Yeah, that’s exactly what was said. Not. We’re talking about the here and now.

    But, but, but, but . . .

    That’s your entire argument for everything. Deflection.

    Again, Lucky. Try and address this question without your usual “but, but, but” deflection.

    When is anything the Governor’s fault? We’re at 2 3/4 years now. Tell us all what the magic number is for him taking responsibility for anything?

  20. - wordslinger - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 11:19 am:

    – Illinois has been losing population for decades..–

    That’s truly a moronic statement. How could you think that is even possible, much less write it and post it for the world to see?

    Look it up, have your juice box and pudding cup, then take a nap.

  21. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 12:11 pm:

    We had 24 congressmen in the 1960’s, 18 currently and are in jeapardy of losing one more.

    Denial is not just a river in Egypt Wordslinger

  22. - Demoralized - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 1:18 pm:

    Funny LP. I just looked at a population graph for Illinois and I don’t see that declining population for decades. In fact, it’s pretty consistently going up over those “decades.”
    Losing Congressmen doesn’t equate to losing population necessarily. It means other places are growing faster.

  23. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 1:31 pm:

    Perhaps your graph was upside down Wordslinger.

    Illinois lead the nation in outward migration the last 4 years

    Most people would consider the potential loss of a House seat after losing 6 in the past 50 years as a wake up call to change the way we do business in this state.

  24. - Demoralized - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 1:56 pm:

    Um, LP, you said “decades.” Get your story straight. Dishonest as always.

  25. - wordslinger - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 2:06 pm:

    LP, your statement was: “Illinois has been losing population for decades….”

    The fact is, Illinois has gained population in every decennial census since joining the union.

    It’s not debatable. Look it up and stop bothering people with obvious lies.

  26. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 2:11 pm:

    The bill backlog nearly tripled, roughly one million people lost social services, people are still leaving the state, a full budget wasn’t passed until last month, higher ed funding suffered huge shortfalls, job growth is sluggish and worse than under Quinn, the deficit shot up, providers have been hurt from lack of payment, taxpayers are not saving money through reasonable cuts to state worker health insurance, etc.

    There’s one common denominator to this, and it’s Rauner. Oh, and did I mention the toxic political atmosphere and lack of trust, as well as hatred of opponents? Man, just as I thought I was wrapping this up, we can’t forget an utter public refusal to take any responsibility. This has to be the worst governor in Illinois history, if we don’t count the criminals.

  27. - Lurkin' MBA - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 2:33 pm:

    Lucky P
    IL population looks pretty flat to me. The Tribune and others are all excited about a 0.3% change.
    And the recent decline does correlate to the current governor’s tenure!

    ESTIMATESBASE2000 12,419,927
    POPESTIMATE2000 12,434,161
    POPESTIMATE2001 12,488,445
    POPESTIMATE2002 12,525,556
    POPESTIMATE2003 12,556,006
    POPESTIMATE2004 12,589,773
    POPESTIMATE2005 12,609,903
    POPESTIMATE2006 12,643,955
    POPESTIMATE2007 12,695,866
    POPESTIMATE2008 12,747,038
    POPESTIMATE2009 12,796,778
    CENSUS2010POP 12,830,632
    POPESTIMATE2010 12,843,166
    CENSUS2010POP 12,830,632
    POPESTIMATE2011 12,860,012
    POPESTIMATE2012 12,870,798
    POPESTIMATE2013 12,879,505
    POPESTIMATE2014 12,867,544
    POPESTIMATE2015 12,839,047
    POPESTIMATE2016 12,801,539

    Source: US Census

  28. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 2:52 pm:

    Illinois is not growing its population relative to the rest of the country.

    It is in effect losing population by not growing as fast as every other state and leading the nation in outward migration

    In 1960 Illinois has approximately 10 million people of the 180 million people in the US which correlated to 24 Congressmen or 5.5% the population

    in 2017 Illinois has approximately 12.8 million people of the 309 million people in the US (4.1%) who are represented by 18 and maybe 17 congressmen in the future.

    Nothing to see here folks, move along Lucky Pierre needs a nap and a juice box everything is fine in Illinois.

    You guys have a strange definition of growth

  29. - Demoralized - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 3:15 pm:

    ==It is in effect losing population by not growing as fast ==

    When a number goes up it’s growing by any definition.

    ==You guys have a strange definition of growth==

    I think you have that backwards. We’re aware what growth means. We’re not the ones changing our story every five minutes.

    First if was “decades” of population loss. Then it was 4 years. Now it’s “not growing as fast is really a loss.”

    ==Nothing to see here folks==

    Nobody said that either. Stop arguing like a child.

  30. - wordslinger - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 3:18 pm:

    LP, you’re just sad,

  31. - joao kepler - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 8:11 pm:

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  33. - kepler - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 9:02 pm:

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  36. - curso online de vendas - Monday, Aug 28, 17 @ 9:07 pm:

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  42. - ponto eletrônico via radio freqüęncia - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 4:18 am:

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  44. - joao kepler - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 5:48 am:

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  46. - João João - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 8:18 am:

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* White Sox Minor League Update: July 21, 2018
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* Covey tosses gem, Leury robs HR in shutout
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