Illinois' Economic Growth Is Worse Than During The Great Depression

Authored by Michael Lucci via,

Illinois’ total state economic activity has increased by only 4 percent since 2007, which is lower than the U.S.’ 10 percent GDP growth during the worst decade of the Great Depression.

There are fewer Illinoisans working today than there were 10 years ago. Millions of Illinoisans are feeling the brunt of the state’s economic pain and financial meltdown in the form of joblessness and hopelessness. Too many families are dealing with unemployment and underemployment, and too few are able to find their dream jobs in the Land of Lincoln. That’s because Illinois has the Great Depression economy of the Midwest.

In fact, Illinois’ economic growth is worse than during the worst years of America’s Great Depression. Illinois’ gross state product, which measures total economic activity, has increased by barely more than 4 percent over the past decade. In comparison, the U.S. gross domestic product during America’s Great Depression increased by nearly 10 percent during the worst decade of the Great Depression, from 1930-1939.

illinois gdp growth

America’s Great Depression started off worse from 1930-1932, but the recovery came on stronger. By contrast, Illinois did not have as steep of a fall during the first years of the Great Recession, but Illinois’ recovery from the Great Recession has been abysmal.

illinois gdp growth

Illinois suffers from depressed economic growth, and state policymakers have repeatedly chosen the path that prevents prosperity. Illinois lawmakers hiked state personal income taxes by 67 percent in 2011. While those income tax rate increases partially sunsetted in 2015, local property and sales taxes have also risen. In the face of economic calamity, Illinois has tried to tax its way back to prosperity.

Taxes keep going up because the state has failed to address its deepest problems –gargantuan pension and retiree health care debts and uncontrolled spending on government payrolls. Illinois’ debts are spiraling out of control, its bonds are headed for junk status, and politicians have responded by repeatedly raising taxes.

The debts need to be brought under control because good job opportunities, economic growth and income-earning power are fleeing the state. That’s why Illinois has the worst personal income growth in the entire country – tied only with Nevada – over the Great Recession era. Personal income has grown by only 0.8 percent per year in Illinois from the end of 2007 through 2016.

illinois gdp growth


Illinois’ governing class has failed to make the state sustainable for future generations. Illinoisans are fleeing the state, and millennials – made up of college students and young working adults – are getting out fastest.

Illinois now loses, on net, one person every 4.6 minutes to other states. As a result, Illinois has been shrinking since July 2013, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Illinois’ population is down by 78,000 over the last three years due to massive out-migration. In contrast, all states around Illinois are growing.

illinois outmigration


Illinois’ problems have been caused by political failure to embrace reforms that would bolster economic growth and bring debts under control. The state’s political leadership has racked up hundreds of billions of dollars in debts that likely can never be repaid, yet the General Assembly refuses to change course. Taxes have consistently gone up, debts are spiraling out of control, and yet the Illinois legislature hasn’t changed anything of substance.

More taxation is not the answer, and Illinoisans have had enough. Sixty-four percent of Illinoisans oppose another income tax increase as part of a budget deal, according to a May poll commissioned by the Illinois Policy Institute. More taxes would simply sink into a black hole of debt that politicians have shown no interest in fixing.

Illinois needs to choose a course of reform or accept the inevitability of state and municipal bankruptcy. The state is bleeding red ink, and will continue to do so until lawmakers bring debts under control. The state’s economy is struggling under the current burden of debt, taxation and regulation; more of the same will inevitably fail.

It’s time to change course, or Illinoisans will continue to change their residence to other states. Until the state adopts meaningful reform, Great Depression economic growth will be the norm in the Land of Lincoln.


Never One Roach Art Van Delay Wed, 06/14/2017 - 20:39 Permalink

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Cities hit hardest by extreme poverty under Obamanomics…

In reply to by Art Van Delay

Manthong luky luke Wed, 06/14/2017 - 21:57 Permalink

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  ..each of my children owes over $50,00.00 to  the tenured professors for their great education…. .. you idiots who have funded the perfessers  and magnificent buildings need make up that debt and pay up  

In reply to by luky luke

GUS100CORRINA Wed, 06/14/2017 - 20:28 Permalink

Isn't it interesting that the shooter today is from Illinois?????Shooter Identified As Never-Trumper James Hodgkinson: “Mr. President You Are Biggest Asshole Ever”Looks to me like a case of misplaced anger!!! Of course, the PROGRESSIVE LEFT (OBAMA and COMPANY) will never take responsibility.

oDumbo Berspankme Wed, 06/14/2017 - 22:28 Permalink

Goodman can play the cockroach in hollywood's interpretation of today's events... you know, where all the Republican congressmen attacked the fat stupid fuck because he was a scumocrat and he had to shoot back...  that's how CNN will eventually spin it, anyway.  Racist news for idiots.

In reply to by Berspankme

Ed Jobb Wed, 06/14/2017 - 20:33 Permalink

I suspect we have been in recession for a long while now.HFT & algos keep the scam hidden while our feds buy debtat ludicrous pace.You don't have to look far to see the evidence as industriesimplode around us. In my town there's 40% unemploymentfor 18 - 25y/olds.This sucker is going to be yuuge when it pops. 

Last of the Mi… Wed, 06/14/2017 - 20:45 Permalink

Illinois' only use is as as a Democratic labratory experiment experiment as the bastion of voter fraud. Entitlements keep enough people there then the election machine rolls in and does it's fraud thing the disappears for another 4 years.

kappal_toba_dh… Wed, 06/14/2017 - 22:03 Permalink

Any Americano that is surprised at this is truly an A-Hole.  USA was bad when we lived there and finally got out in 2011. It is a basket case situation and things are only going to get worse.  Yes, the coastal cities are better off than inner USA, but still they are horrible!  Shopping malls and stores are closing by the day, and USA media atrributes this all to "online buying"!  What gupsup rubbish!  We have online stores all over Asia but the situation is so different.Nei deekras (no dearies), it is NOT just Illinois but most if not all the states that are on the verge of collapse. And with the addition of Puerto Rico (and their USD100 billion of debt), you can bet that things are only going to get worse.My cheerful thought for the day!   

DrData02 Wed, 06/14/2017 - 22:34 Permalink

Illinois top income tax rate 3.75%. Flat rate for everyone.
California 13.3%.
N.J. 8.97%.
Oregon 9.9%.
Cry me a river. Plenty of room to raise taxes.

whatisthat Thu, 06/15/2017 - 06:00 Permalink

I would observe there is perceived benefit to investigate and prosecute and imprison a few hundred corrupt government and establishment morons employed or contracted by the state of Illinois (I.e., over the past fifty years) who created this financial disaster.