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Canaries in the coal mine?

Monday, Apr 30, 2018

* Uh-oh

After a years-long stretch in which the city’s economy substantially outpaced that of the state, Illinois’ economic malaise appears to have spread inside the Chicago city limits.

New data indicate employment growth in the city has flatlined, with only 510 more private-sector jobs in the city than in the same period a year ago and the number of employed Chicagoans almost dead even.

That stands in contrast to previous data indicating that, after several years of solid growth that led the metropolitan region and the state, the total number of jobs in Chicago proper was at the highest level in decades, driven by 2-plus percent annual job growth in the booming central area of the city.

The new figures come from Illinois Department of Employment Security surveys of households and employers as crunched by World Business Chicago, the city’s private-public corporate recruitment agency. WBC is chaired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

* More

Seven metropolitan areas lost jobs over the month, with Chicago leading the way, dropping 3,700 jobs.

Following Chicago, Springfield shed 500 jobs (-0.4 percent); Peoria dropped 500 jobs (-0.3 percent); Decatur lost 300 jobs (-0.6 percent); Bloomington payrolls declined by 300 (-0.3 percent); Rockford dropped 200 jobs (-0.1 percent); and Davenport-Moline-Rock Island shed 200 jobs (-0.1 percent). Champaign-Urbana payrolls saw no change.

Fortunately, some areas of the Prairie State increased payrolls over the month. Lake-Kenosha County gained 700 jobs (+0.2 percent); Carbondale payrolls increased by 600 (+1.1 percent); Elgin added 600 jobs (+0.2 percent); Danville gained 100 jobs (+0.4 percent); and Kankakee added 100 jobs (+0.2 percent).

Although some areas experienced growth during the month of March, on net employment declined. Particularly concerning is the dip in Chicago area payrolls, as Chicago has been a catalyst in Illinois’ job recovery.

* Also

The last few winters haven’t been particularly cold. Natural gas remains historically cheap. Unemployment is low. Yet customer nonpayments to Peoples Gas, which heats Chicagoans’ homes, soared last year.

The amount Peoples reported as uncollectible in 2017 was $58.2 million, more than twice the $26.5 million it recorded in 2016, according to filings with the Illinois Commerce Commission. The 2017 figure was 5 percent of Peoples’ revenue for the year. It also was well above the $37 million in uncollectible bills at Peoples in 2014, the notorious “polar vortex” year, when heating bills spiked.​

To put 2017 in further context, uncollectible accounts at far larger Nicor Gas, which serves much of suburban Chicago, were just $11 million, less than 1 percent of its 2017 revenue.

…Adding… And then there’s this just around the corner…



- Posted by Rich Miller        

35 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 2:35 pm:

    –The figures also may underline the impact of the population drop.–

    You think? They may have been primarily poor, but most of them worked and spent money that supported jobs and businesses in their neighborhoods.

    You can be poor anywhere.

    Kennedy wasn’t far off in the primary. The powers-that-be in Chicago have been interested in the “right” kind of growth for quite some time.

    They ain’t looking for more McDonald’s franchises on the West Side, but the McDonald’s hq on the West Side.


  2. - lake county democrat - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 2:45 pm:

    “Lake-Kenosha County” seems like an odd area to measure, it’s not like there’s a “seat” to it like the others (not to mention Kenosha county is in Wisconsin!) - you’ve got those corporate HQ’s at the very southern edge by the Cook County border. Is Case in Kenosha County or Racine?

    I miss the American Motor Company!


  3. - City Zen - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 2:47 pm:

    Rahmp


  4. - Anon - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 2:57 pm:

    Those payment jumps are massive.

    What are we supposed to do in the event of a likely recession in the next 2 years?


  5. - LakeviewJ - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 3:00 pm:

    You guys need to calm down and read about one of our state’s scenic rivers.


  6. - SSL - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 3:05 pm:

    Looks like Chicago needs to call Peter Francis Geraci.


  7. - Y - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 3:06 pm:

    High teacher salaries = high taxes = no one wants to open a business = no jobs duh


  8. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 3:08 pm:

    It feels like the city is booming to some extent, especially the northside. Downtown and the emerging Fulton Market area is attracting more businesses. I do see economic stagnation in quite a few suburbs.


  9. - Anon - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 3:11 pm:

    How is a financially strapped city supposed to come up with hundreds of millions of new revenue that doesn’t expand services one iota?


  10. - Publius - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 3:21 pm:

    Only pay what is spent from the pension system and stop trying to make payments to get the fund to that magical 100% of all future payments from the fund. It’s not attainable.


  11. - Publius - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 3:23 pm:

    What is the projected annual payments, not the sum of all annual payments?


  12. - Mama - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 3:27 pm:

    There would be enough money in the pension funds if the money had not been spent elsewhere for years.


  13. - Smalls - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 3:40 pm:

    Ummm, Pubilus, just paying what is spent from the pension funds is way more than the City is putting in. The 6 Chicago area pension funds paid out $3.379 billion (yes, with a B) in pension payments in 2016. The City of Chicago put a combined $1.532 billion into the pension funds that same year. Normally, investments would cover a large part of the benefit payments, but that only counts if you put money in all along to earn investment income, which the City didn’t. If you take into account what the City put in, what the employees put in, and investment earnings, that comes out to $2.473 billion. Still short $900 million. So not only is the City not catching up towards that “magical goal” of 100%, they aren’t even covering the current year’s pension payments and are falling further behind.

    And just in case you are wondering where the stats are from, they are from the IL Dept of Insurance Public Pension Division’s most recent Biennial Report, which was issued on October 1, 2017.


  14. - City Zen - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 3:51 pm:

    ==Only pay what is spent from the pension system==

    That is called pay-as-you-go. Highly inadvisable.

    ==stop trying to make payments to get the fund to that magical 100% of all future payments from the fund. It’s not attainable.==

    Unfortunately, since the pension fund uses a discount rate that equals the expected rate of return, 100% funding should be the target. Only pension funds that use a discount rate less than the expected rate of return can/should have target funding rates below 100%.


  15. - City Zen - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 3:53 pm:

    ==There would be enough money in the pension funds if the money had not been spent elsewhere for years.==

    Other elsewhere things like employee raises and increased health care coverage?


  16. - Demoralized - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 3:55 pm:

    ==Other elsewhere things like employee raises and increased health care coverage?==

    Gonna keep beating that dead horse aren’t you?


  17. - Ron - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 3:56 pm:

    The Chicago metro area didn’t lose jobs in March from February or March year over year. The BLS shows a monthly gain of 12,000 jobs and a year over year gain of 9,000 jobs.


  18. - Ron - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 3:58 pm:

    Smalls, what are Chicago area pension funds?


  19. - MG85 - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 3:59 pm:

    -high taxes = no one wants to open a business = no jobs duh-

    It blows my mind that people still say this seriously. The highest taxes in the country also coincide with the largest cities. Meaning, more people want to live there. Meaning more jobs are there than anywhere else.

    States with the lowest tax burdens are: Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee. If these 3 states woke up tomorrow the number of jobs in New York, California, or Illinois, their governors would lay claim to being the 2nd coming of God.

    Businesses are built and sustained off of demand for the products or services in which those businesses provide.


  20. - Ron - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 3:59 pm:

    Demoralized, it’s true though. Taxpayers need to know that the kleptocracy takes care of it’s own before anyone else.


  21. - Ron - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 4:03 pm:

    IPI is just plain wrong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows job growth both year over year and from last month for Chicago metro.


  22. - Ron - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 4:05 pm:

    https://www.bls.gov/regions/midwest/il_chicago_md.htm


  23. - Smalls - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 4:06 pm:

    Ron, The 6 are:

    Chicago Police Pension
    Chicago Fire Pension
    Chicago Municipal Employees Pension
    Chicago Laborers Pension
    Chicago Park Employees Pension
    Chicago Teachers Pension


  24. - Ron - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 4:10 pm:

    Sands, ok why I’d you say Chicago area then? That’s just Chicago.


  25. - Demoralized - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 4:25 pm:

    == the kleptocracy==

    You keep using that ridiculous term. Just stop already.


  26. - City Zen - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 4:27 pm:

    ==The highest taxes in the country also coincide with the largest cities. Meaning, more people want to live there.==

    Yet Houston and Phoenix are larger than Philadelphia, San Antonio is larger than San Diego, Dallas is larger than San Jose, Austin and Jacksonville are larger than San Francisco.


  27. - Ron - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 4:31 pm:

    Kleptocracy is a very appropriate term for the state of Illinois.


  28. - Ron - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 4:33 pm:

    Illinois has a government run by and for pols and public workers. The vast majority of illinois taxpayers get very little for the 5th highest state and local tax burden in the nation.


  29. - Demoralized - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 4:35 pm:

    ==vast majority of illinois taxpayers get very little ==

    That’s another one of your nonsensical statements.


  30. - Ron - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 4:51 pm:

    I’m dying to hear about the amazing state services we get in Illinois for the 5th highest state and local tax burden that others don’t get.


  31. - BlueDogDem - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 5:12 pm:

    Ron. I love the term kleptocracy. Its kinda true.


  32. - Jibba - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 6:49 pm:

    Ron, You often say that you get little or nothing for your tax dollar, but when challenged, you always shift your complaint to cost of those services relative to elsewhere. Please pick a lane because I am tired of your shifty arguing.


  33. - Ron - Monday, Apr 30, 18 @ 10:01 pm:

    Jibba, it’s all the same. We pay far too much in taxes for few and poor services. Unfortunately, it’s only going to get worse for the taxpayer as benefit coata skyrocket and services are inevitably cut.


  34. - Jibba - Tuesday, May 1, 18 @ 7:51 am:

    No, Ron, it is not the same. Saying you get little or nothing from government shows an ignorance of the functions and purpose of government, like I have pointed out before several times. But the cost argument at least has a little merit, even though it ignores the mistake of keeping tax rates too low for decades.


  35. - Rod - Tuesday, May 1, 18 @ 9:25 am:

    I see the decline in jobs in the center city as primarily impacting younger college graduates. The wages for these graduates is variable. One impact I have seen here in the Andersonville community on he north side of Chicago has been in a rise in the number of unoccupied higher rent two and three bedroom apartments in tow flat units that used to be rapidly filed with groups of younger graduates sharing units.

    The decline in our city population is largely driven by poorer residents leaving Chicago, and slow down in new college graduates moving in.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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