John Cullerton, President of the State Senate, declared Thursday that "It's time to end the Illinois bashing!" He insisted the Land of Lincoln's economy is in fact healthier than critics claim.
"I think it's time to end the Illinois Bashing and start recognizing our economic attributes, and build on them to solve problems," said Cullerton.
In the heat of a political campaign that's already centered on Illinois's economy, one of the state's top Democrats claimed things are actually better than they look.
Cullerton told the Union League Club it's wrong to focus on the unemployment rate here, now the worst in the Midwest and third-worst in America. He prefers to exclude older and younger workers, focusing on the percentage of workers between the ages of 25 and 54 who actually have jobs.
"While our unemployment rate is high, our employment rate ranks Illinois 20th in the nation, therefore better than the national average. And there is something to be said for the quality of jobs in Illinois. Illinois outpaces by far the average salary, almost 21% higher than our neighboring states' collective average," Cullerton added.
The libertarian-leaning Illinois Policy Institute accused Cullerton of "cherry-picking" his numbers.
"We have over 600,000 people looking for jobs. And when you include the underemployed, it's a million people. We can't be looking at one small segment, trying to say, ‘Things are good!'," said Ted Dabrowski, Vice President of the IL Policy Institute.
Cullerton insisted there is good news, such as the nation-leading number of new workplaces opened in metro Chicago in 2013.
"The 373 facility deals here far exceeded second-place Houston's 255 projects," said Cullerton.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
Didn't find what you were looking for?