Ill. unemployment remains 3rd highest, despite five-year drop - FOX 32 News Chicago

Ill. unemployment remains 3rd highest, despite five-year drop

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Unemployment in Illinois last month dropped to the lowest level in five years, though it remained 3rd highest of any state. Despite that, Governor Quinn's Director of Economic Development claims his plan to generate new jobs in Illinois is working.

As lead recruiter for Quinn's effort to bring new jobs to Illinois, Adam Pollet's often asked about the region's unemployment rates: Iowa, 4.5%; Wisconsin and Indiana, 5.9%; Illinois, 8.4%. He claims it's not as bad as it looks.

"We've created hundreds of thousands of jobs in this state, net, since the recovery began -- over 250,000," Pollet explains. " We've seen the unemployment rate drop from a high of 11.4% to 8.4% now, currently. We know the trends are in the right direction."

That's far too slow for the Republican candidate for governor, Bruce Rauner. He blames Illinois' high unemployment on such Pat Quinn policies as the 2011 state income tax increase, which the governor now proposes to make permanent. Rauner vows to cut taxes and other costs of doing business, a strategy mocked by Democrats.

" We are not going to cut our way to being the bargain basement, we're gonna be the lowest cost provider," Pollet says. "We want to be a value added state. We want to be a state that competes on innovation and growth in the economy, high well-paid jobs."

Pollet cited Illinois' 18,000 net new business establishments from 2009-2012, which Career Builder and Economic Modeling Specialists ranked third in the country, behind only Texas and New York. Another study named the Chicago area Number One in America for most corporate relocations and expansions in 2013, with Illinois the Number Three state, up from Number Five in 2012.

"The real question is watching trends," he tells FOX 32. "And the trends are all in the right direction."

We'll hear more of that positive spin on Illinois' economy from Gov. Quinn as he campaigns for re-election this year. Adam Pollet concedes there's an alternative "negative narrative" that's taken hold in Illinois. We'll hear that from Bruce Rauner and the Republicans.

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