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Illinois Manufacturing Employment Declines For A Second Straight Year, But Chicago Adds Jobs

Contact: Jennifer Ratcliff
Manufacturers' News, Inc.
(847) 864-9440 ext. 241
jratcliff [at]

EVANSTON, Ill, March 9th, 2017/Manufacturers' News, Inc./-- Illinois manufacturing employment declined for a second straight year, though at a slower rate than reported in 2015, according to data collected by Manufacturers' News, Inc. (MNI), a publisher of industrial databases and directories for all fifty states. MNI reports Illinois lost 3,864 industrial jobs in 2016, adding to the nearly 7,000 jobs the state shed in 2015.

Illinois’ 17,385 manufacturers currently employ 798,032, reports MNI. The state has struggled to recover from the recession, with industrial jobs inching up just a half percent between 2010 and 2014, and the losses of the past two years have erased those gains.

“While most states, particularly in the Midwest, have recovered significant percentages of jobs lost during the recession, Illinois is back where it was when it hit bottom in 2010. In addition to global competition and a strong dollar, the state’s budget impasse has made it difficult to lure new manufacturers to the state and prevent existing companies from relocating,” says Tom Dubin, President of the Evanston, IL-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. “However, Illinois’ manufacturing sector remains one of the nation’s strongest and most diverse, with strongholds in traditional industries like machinery and food processing, as well as innovative, high-tech enterprises that draw from the state’s educated workforce.”

Companies moving out of Illinois accounted for more than a third of manufacturing job losses, reports MNI, with forty companies employing 1,411 migrating to other states in 2016. A total of forty companies and their 1,329 manufacturing jobs were lost due to migration in 2015, while 2014 saw just twenty-seven companies employing 445 leave the state.

The opposite is true for Chicago, MNI data suggests, with migration from the city appearing to slow. Just twenty-six companies left for other parts of the state in 2016, compared to thirty-one in 2015 and forty-one in 2014. The rate of companies relocating to Chicago from other parts of the state is also on the rise, reports MNI, with fifteen relocating to Chicago in 2016, compared to thirteen in 2015 and eleven in 2014. This is reflected in a rise in overall industrial employment for Chicago, with jobs up 2.1% to 108,198.

Bright spots for Chicago included expanded hiring at Ford’s Southeast Side assembly plant in response to a city contract for additional police vehicles, and Unilever’s plans to expand its Hellman’s mayonnaise factory in Little Village.

MNI reports employment declined across most Illinois industrial sectors in 2016. Out of twenty-two industries analyzed, fifteen shed jobs, and seven added jobs. Notable job losses were seen in the state’s transportation equipment sector, which declined 4.5% following the closures of International Automotive Products in Belvidere and auto supplier Rockford Products in Rockford. Jobs in the printing/publishing industry declined 3.1%; textiles/apparel fell 2.4% and stone/clay/glass was down 2%.

Illinois’ largest industries saw marginal job increases in 2016, reports MNI, with jobs up a half percent in the industrial machinery and equipment sector. That industry ranks first in the state for manufacturing jobs, employing 130,175. Food processing notched up by 244 jobs, and currently ranks second with 94,645 workers, while third-ranked fabricated metals accounts for 92,018 jobs, a half percent more than a year ago.

Job losses were most severe in Northern Illinois, says MNI, with employment down 2.4% in Northwest Illinois to 70,023 workers, and down a half percent in Northeast Illinois to 561,807. Jobs inched down 1% in Central Illinois, which currently accounts for 101,149 jobs, and declined a half percent in Southeast Illinois, which accounts for 28,429. Industrial employment was virtually unchanged in Southwest Illinois, which is home to 36,594 workers.

Established in 1912, MNI is the nation’s oldest and largest compiler of industrial information, offering tailored solutions to help customers connect with 430,000 manufacturers and suppliers. MNI’s industrial marketplace IndustryNet: is a one-stop resource that connects buyers with suppliers of 10,000 + products and services, and allows users to obtain competitive quotes, create and view company profiles, post company news releases, photos, videos, job openings, and more. MNI’s subscription service EZ Select: provides access to MNI’s live interactive database of manufacturers. For more information, contact MNI at 847-864-7000 or visit
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