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dir="ltr">Illinois trails the rest of the nation in terms of wage growth since the Great Recession.
Tied with Mississippi, Illinois employees had the second slowest wage growth in the country. One analyst says it’s because the cost of state government regulations limit what companies can offer.
The Pew Charitable Trusts released data on all 50 states to show the growth or decline of personal income since the end of the Great Recession.
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“The measure sums up residents’ paychecks, Social Security benefits, employers’ contributions to retirement plans and health insurance, income from rent and other property, and benefits from public assistance programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, among other items,” the report said. “The latest data indicate Illinois was one of the slowest-growing states.”
While the national wage growth from late 2007 to the first quarter of this year was 1.6 percent, Illinois’ income growth was 0.7 percent. Only Connecticut had slower growth at 0.6 percent.
Analyst Mark Glennon of Wirepoints said the high cost of doing business in Illinois limits what employers can offer employees.
“It’s no wonder that they’re starting to move to other places,” he said. “We’re really out of sync with what’s happening with the rest of the country.”
Things like labor rules and workers’ compensation costs in Illinois make hiring workers more expensive here, he said.
“All those costs and headaches that make life difficult for employers put a black mark on the hiring process and it’s a long list of them and they’re significantly higher in Illinois,” Glennon said.
Illinois employees' wage growth at the near bottom is because state level policies in Illinois are not friendly to business, he added.
“A lot of it is really just the atmospherics,” Glennon said. “Other states welcome business. We’re constantly putting up ‘not wanted’ signs, ‘get lost’ signs.”
"Only two states’ growth since the start of the recession beat the 30-year U.S. pace: North Dakota (3.6 percent) and Utah (2.7 percent)," according to the Pew report.
Most states saw more than 1 percent wage growth, the report found.
Even when Pew narrowed down wage growth for the year, Illinois still lagged the rest of the country at 0.9 percent.
It’s not just employees who don’t benefit from slow wage growth. State coffers are also affected.
“Trends in personal income matter to state governments because tax revenue and spending demands may rise or fall along with residents’ incomes,” the Pew report said.