Nearly 40,000 Illinois occupations have failed to resurface since pre-pandemic orders were initially implemented three years ago, according to the latest data released by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).
The IDES figures, which cover the period from January 2017 to April 2020, indicate that the number of jobs in the state has steadily diminished during that time.
The data show that a total of 39,400 jobs have been lost since the onset of the pandemic, and that the losses were particularly pronounced in the manufacturing, retail and hospitality sectors.
Manufacturing jobs have decreased by 13,000, while retail positions have declined by 10,700. Meanwhile, hospitality jobs, which include restaurants and hotels, have seen a decrease of nearly 15,000.
The decline in employment is particularly concerning, since Illinois has traditionally been a manufacturing hub. Moreover, the state has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, as it has one of the highest per capita infection rates in the country.
The IDES data also shows that the job losses have been highly concentrated in certain areas of the state, with the Chicago metro area seeing the largest decline in employment. The Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights region has lost more than 17,000 jobs since the start of the pandemic, accounting for more than 40 percent of all job losses in the state.
The data also indicates that the losses are not evenly distributed across the state. In particular, the rural areas of Illinois have been disproportionately affected, with much of the job losses occurring in small towns and rural counties.
The IDES data provides a stark reminder of the economic devastation caused by the pandemic, and underscores the need for continued economic stimulus and job creation initiatives in the state.