Everyone knows that the metro-east has too few of them, but it's shocking just how few. There are 93,000 more metro-east residents in the workforce than there are jobs in St. Clair, Madison and Monroe counties.
No wonder an increasing percentage of workers commute to Missouri each day. And that's with Scott Air Force Base being one of our biggest employers in the region.
The metro-east doesn't just want, it needs more jobs if Southwestern Illinois is to grow and prosper. But why would that happen?
The metro-east has long been treated as the red-headed stepchild of the St. Louis region, with the Mississipppi River a hard-to-bridge obstacle. Political leaders continue to talk about the need to see both sides of the river as one, united region but acknowledge that seldom happens.
Add to that the fact that state government in Illinois is a mess. Its huge debt, high taxes, high worker comp costs and a highly litigious judicial system either pushes prospective employers away or keeps them from adding to their work force. TIFs and other tax incentives can't overcome all the negatives.
As long as these problems exist, the jobs will have to wait.