Unemployment Rates Higher in IL and 109th District: $15 Minimum Wage Will Hurt Families & Business

Map graphic credit: Illinois Policy Institute

State Representative Darren Bailey announced today that the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has released data showing that from 2018 to 2019 the unemployment rate has increased in Illinois while the national rate has decreased.

“All nine counties in my district have seen an increase in the unemployment rate over the past year,” said Rep. Darren Bailey. “Illinois is going up while during the same time the United States overall has seen a drop in unemployment. This is not a good trend with the $15 per hour minimum wage coming into effect.”

The following are the recently release statistics for the counties in the 109th District:

Clay County                5.6% up from 5.5

Edwards County         5.4% up from 4.6

Effingham County       4.4% up from 3.9

Jasper County             5.2% up from 4.9

Lawrence County       6.4% up from 5.9

Richland County         5.3% up from 4.6

Wabash County          4.7% up from 4.2

Wayne County             6.2% up from 5.7

White County             5.1% up from 4.4

“The mandated $15 per hour minimum wage will accelerate this trend because the job creators will either be forced to cut workers’ hours, reduce employee benefits, eliminate jobs, invest in automation or close their doors,” added Rep. Bailey. “At the same time, the products they produce or services they provide will increase in costs to pay for the increased wages mandated from the few jobs left.”

Under the new law, on Jan. 1 the statewide minimum wage increases from $8.25 to $9.25 per hour. The minimum wage again will increase to $10 per hour on July 1, 2020, and will then go up $1 per hour each year on Jan. 1 until hitting $15 per hour in 2025.

State agencies and universities employ workers who earn minimum wage, and the state reimburses social service providers who care for the elderly and people with disabilities, among other services. An increase in the minimum wage means higher costs for the state each year it goes up.

“Illinois’ business climate is challenging enough. Business owners and managers continually tell me they are considering leaving or not expanding here in Illinois due to high taxes, over-regulation and out-of-whack workers’ compensation and labor costs,” continued Rep. Bailey.

A study on Seattle’s $15-an-hour minimum wage pointed to earnings drops for some workers because in order to control overhead, businesses reduced their hours. That will happen here too. There will be businesses like family-owned restaurants, non-profits, coffee shops, auto repair shops, and even home health care providers that won’t survive this $15/hour minimum wage mandate.