Some good news for Illinois' economy

Sep 9, 2013

News about Illinois' economy is typically bleak.  The state DOES have the second-worst unemployment rate in the nation, behind only Nevada. But as IPR's Brian Mackey reports, at least one outside observer is seeing at least a modest improvement.

Moody's Analytics is changing Illinois' rating from "at risk of recession" to "recovery." Moody's economist Steven Cochrane.

"Until recently, Illinois has been one of the slowest states to enjoy any economic recovery over the last couple of years."

But he says that's finally beginning to change, thanks mostly to an improvement in the economy in and around Chicago.

Cochrane says the Housing market is picking up, and the big service- and finance-based companies in Chicago are hiring. He also says some of the big manufacturing companies Downstate could see a rebound in exports to Europe, China, and Latin America.

"So things, I think, finally are looking a little bit better for Illinois than we've seen in quite some time."

Cochrane says there will continue to be one significant drag in Illinois: state government, where pensions and other long-term budget problems could keep it from growing at even the modest pace of the broader Illinois economy.