Moody's: Illinois Economy Finally In 'Recovery'

Sep 9, 2013

Credit Flickr user spDuchamp (Creative Commons)

Illinois has been one of the slowest states to recover from the Great Recession. But at least one analyst says things are getting better.

Illinois is no longer at immediate risk of recession, and is in fact beginning to recover. That, at least, is the assessment of economist Steve Cochrane, with Moody's Analytics.

"The housing market is picking up in Chicago," Cochrane says. "The large service- and finance-based economy in Chicago also seems to be picking a little bit, and hiring is improving."

Much of the improvement in Illinois' economy is pegged to Chicagoland, but he says Downstate manufacturers could also soon see an improvement in exports overseas.

Cochrane, however, says there will continue to be problems related to state government. There are the larger, structural budget issues, like the massive pension liability. But he says the decline in government employment makes a difference, too.

"And whether we like it or not, that is a weight on the economy," Cochrane says. "It takes away from the spending power of those folks who are state government employees."

The latest unemployment numbers show Illinois is ranked 49th in the nation, just three-tenths of a percentage point ahead of Nevada.