In or out? A good way to judge Illinois' economic health is to follow the moving vans. Are more people moving into the state, or out?
Unfortunately, it's out. According to United Van Lines, Illinois is second only to New Jersey in the percentage of people who moved out of the state this year. Illinois has been No. 1 or two in this survey for the past few years. United Van Lines said Illinois has been a high outbound state since the company began tracking data in 1977.
Illinois' high unemployment numbers help explain why. the state had 8.7 percent unemployment in November, the fourth-highest rate in the nation. Surrounding states are doing better, including Missouri at 6.1 percent. Illinois is 1.7 percentage points above the national average.
The Great Recession is officially long over, but the jobs haven't returned for Illinois. The Illinois Policy Institute said the state has 160,000 fewer jobs now than it did in 2007.
There are many reasons that businesses and people don't want to locate here: High taxes, high workers' comp costs and political dysfunction, to name three.
Unless those things improve, expect the migration out to continue.