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More Illinois corporations lay off workers in June

(The Center Square) – In June, nine Illinois companies announced a total of 1,017 jobs affected by mass layoffs. A policy analyst and economy expert says more people are relying on themselves for employment.

A “mass layoff” under the Illinois Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act is a reduction in force at a single site of employment of 25 or more full-time employees if they constitute one-third or more of full-time employees at the site, or 250 or more full-time employees.

Director of Fiscal and Economic Research at Illinois Policy Bryce Hill said Illinois has the least business-friendly state of all neighboring states and regulations and requirements can create unnecessary business hurdles.

“IRS [Internal Revenue Service] data shows that the state lost 90,000 people, essentially, and in 2022 they took with them $10 billion worth of income and that’s income that’s not going into the economy anymore,” said Hill. “It’s going instead to other states, and it’s one of the reasons why the state has the third-highest unemployment rate in the nation. Not only are the layoffs but the other outcomes that even people who are still employed are experiencing all speak to the hostile business climate the state of Illinois has created.”

Hill said there is a silver lining in Illinois’ labor market and that is the fact that small businesses are the only job creators that are adding jobs actively to the state’s economy.

“Since the pandemic, businesses with fewer than 20 employees have added nearly 170,000 jobs, which makes up all the net jobs growth in the state in that time. For the decade prior, those businesses were responsible for two-thirds of the jobs growth. It’s especially important to recognize that during a time where we see a rising unemployment rate and job loss is affecting various communities around the state,” said Hill.

According to the WARN report, in May, over 1,100 jobs were slated to be lost in Illinois. John Deere, Aramark and Lagunitas Brewing all made the list of companies who had mass layoffs. Now, in June, more John Deere and Aramark layoffs were announced and the Jelly Belly Candy company was added to the list this month.

Hill explained the reason why small businesses have weathered a storm of mass layoffs that Illinois has seen over the last few months is because there’s a necessity of entrepreneurship.

“Small businesses were also the least likely to lay off people at the beginning of the pandemic, and the sustainability of a small business is often reliant on its employees and being able to provide the goods and services that customers expect much more so than a large company, who might be all about the bottom line,” said Hill.

Small businesses tend to be highly invested in their communities and that appears to be bearing out in the data, Hill said.

“Small businesses are less likely to lay off their employees and more likely to be responsible for net jobs growth and are more resilient overall for the economy,” said Hill.

Hill said it’s likely junior and labor-intensive employees are often most and the first affected by mass layoffs. Electric vehicle maker Rivian has begun to lay off more senior level employees after announcing their initial layoff in February this year. According to an employee, the facility in Normal laid off 35 senior management workers and engineers in June. An email reveals the June layoff only impacted salaried employees.

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