When the subjects of jobs, unemployment, and small businesses come up on the House floor in Springfield, you can guarantee that State Representative Keith Wheeler will rise to be part of the conversation.

We talk with him about those issues and what needs to be done to help Illinois grow jobs.  In getting to know more about the representative, we hear about his passion for Chicago Bears football, Walter Payton, U-2, and an educator who influenced him not only in school but who has been a source of motivation ever since.

Budget – COGFA report
·        Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA) issues monthly report on State tax revenues.  The nonpartisan arm of the Illinois General Assembly works with the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) and other State departments to monitor ongoing revenues and maintain an information flow to State legislators on the current budget situation. 

In their “Monthly Briefing” which covers revenue facts and trends for November 2017, COGFA reports stable trends in both State revenues and the overall economy.  Pushed by higher income tax rates, November 2017 income tax revenues are up $394 million on a year-over-year basis when compared with parallel revenue numbers in November 2016.   Sales tax revenues rose by $54 million year-over-year.
·         Unemployment rate drops in every Illinois metropolitan area.  Statistics published by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) showed a year-over-year unemployment rate cut in each of Illinois’ 102 counties.  The state gained 18,200 new nonfarm payroll jobs between October 2016 and October 2017, strengthening Illinois prosperity and consumer behavior.  The new numbers are based upon data compiled by state employers and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  

As in previous months, new job creation was concentrated in local metropolitan areas that are economically oriented towards health care, health care research and development, financial services, and higher education.  The lowest rates of October 2017 joblessness were found in Bloomington-Normal (Illinois State University, State Farm), with 3.8%, and Lake County (Abbott Labs, Takeda Pharmaceuticals), with 3.9%.  Higher jobless rates were once again posted in traditionally manufacturing-oriented municipal areas, such as Danville (6.0%) and Decatur (5.2%).  

Many Downstate municipal areas have still not recovered from the so-called ‘Great Recession” that began in 2008-2009.  New job creation continues to be concentrated in the Chicago area.  While the State as a whole has generated 18,300 new payroll jobs over the most-recently-reported 12-month period, 26,100 new jobs were created during this time-span in greater Chicago including Lake County.  There continued to be a net loss of new jobs in Downstate Illinois during this period, with low unemployment numbers reflecting migration out of the region rather than the creation of a substantial number of net new jobs.