Salzberg: Illinois needs to bring back manufacturing jobs
August employment numbers for Illinois conveyed a mixed analysis of the job market in the state; while unemployment shrank from 5.8 to 5.5 percent in July, the sole cause of the decline was a workforce that shrank by 22,000 people.
Northbrook's Benjamin Salzberg, the Republican seeking the state Senate seat in District 29, considers this a troubling trend.
“So we have people dropping out of the workforce,” Salzberg told the Lake County Gazette. “The unemployment rate numbers seem to be better, but people have literally dropped out and are no longer working – those numbers are not being counted. So that it is a very poor and sad situation where our property taxes are being raised and people are no longer working. We have the highest foreclosure rate in Northshore Chicago. How are they going to afford to pay for their homes? They can’t.”
Indeed, a recent report from Realtytrac.com concluded that home foreclosures in the Chicago suburbs has nearly doubled in the past year, rising to 2,379 in the last three months compared to 1,245 homes in the same period of 2015. This comes as home sales have plunged and property taxes have soared.
It also comes at a time when Illinois has lost more than 125,000 manufacturing jobs. This is in contrast to government jobs, of which 175,000 have been added.
“Having 175,000 more government jobs doesn’t create an economy in Illinois,” Salzberg said. “We are losing the middle class. We are losing the middle-class way of being able to support families.”
Salzberg asserted that manufacturing helps drive the economy and that, unlike the rest of the nation, Illinois is not benefiting from its resurgence. He recently attended an international manufacturing show in Chicago and spoke about having a conversation with a gentleman involved in reshoring efforts in the country. It was explained to Salzberg that it is no longer cost effective to do business overseas and many companies are pulling their businesses from other countries back to the states.
“That’s good news for the country,” Salzberg said. “(But) bad news for Illinois because (businesses) do not want to come here. They do not want to come to Illinois.”
Again, he stressed the importance of retaining manufacturing and how it creates a satellite of jobs.
“Manufacturing jobs are the number one way to get the economy moving because there are a lot of components in manufacturing from billings, to accounting, to legal services, to HR, and even to suppliers,” Salzberg said. “All those jobs add up and they are not coming here to Illinois. It’s very difficult to even think about starting a corporation when you have an environment that is not conductive to businesses owners.”
Salzberg asserted that Illinois needs someone like him to fix this business drought. Set aside the politics and fix the state, he implied.
“We need an individual to step in and lead in a bipartisan way to fix the problems,” he said. “I don’t care if you are a Republican. I don’t care if you are a Democrat. I don’t care if you are Martian. We need to be logical and fix the situation so we can create opportunities for people to stay here in Illinois. People cannot just drop out of the work force and do nothing. We cannot create jobs just for the government. You cannot have an economy specifically of people working for the government.”
Salzberg concluded that voters need to do something immediately to overcome this problem of job loss.
“People need to come out and vote,” he said.