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Illinois ranked low on list of state economies

Illinois Watchdog.Org

Monday, June 25, 2018  |  Article  |  Watchdog News

Economy (34)
A new study put Illinois near the bottom in a ranking of state economies.

The reasons the state landed 35th include stagnant wages and high taxes.

Analysts for the personal finance website WalletHub compared gross domestic product growth, startup business activity, high-tech jobs and other factors for its 2018 ranking.

WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez, who worked on the study, said Illinois came in 35th out of 50 states plus Washington DC.

“The country’s economic growth obviously depends heavily on the performance of states as individual parts, so we wanted to see essentially which states were contributing most," she said.

The study looked at 28 indicators of economic strength. Gonzalez said stagnant wages lowered Illinois’ ranking.

“It did not do as well when it comes to change in payroll,” she said. “(There was) pretty much no change in payroll as we looked at the past year.”

Gonzalez said that flat payroll plus high taxes held Illinois’ back.

“There are other factors besides the job market here,” she said. “The tax landscape has changed a little bit. So all of these things impact economic health.”

Gonzalez said despite the mediocre ranking, there are bright spots for Illinois.

“It did experience some GDP growth over the past year, so that’s certainly good,” she said. “It had a little bit more of startup activity than it has in past years.”

The study points out that some states contribute more than others to national economic growth. California is ranked fourth on this list, but has a larger GDP than some countries including the United Kingdom and France.

Illinois' placement in some categories such as economic activity and innovation potential was in the middle of the pack. Its economic health was rated 49th.

Washington was rated the best state economy while Louisiana came in last.