Quinn's Job Announcement Not in Latest Report

    By Jennifer Wessner    
  Illinois Statehouse News
   SPRINGFIELD –10/23/10 - If you listened to Gov. Pat Quinn on the stump this week, you heard him hand out over $300 million in and create almost 5,000 jobs. But those job numbers don’t add-up with the latest jobless report in Illinois.
   Quinn traveled to Moline, Rochelle and Chicago this week announcing state projects, and new jobs at each stop.  The money for the new projects is from Illinois’ $30 billion statewide construction plan that lawmakers approved back in 2009. The jobs from the new project appear to be scattered across the state, and across the calendar.
   On Wednesday the governor announced the release of $270 million dollars to 18 school districts around the state for the new construction. Quinn said the projects would “be creating 3,700 new construction jobs to area residents.”
   But many of those 18 districts said they started work on their projects months ago, and some are nearing completion.
   Illinois latest jobless report shows a jump in construction jobs, but not nearly the number of jobs Quinn touted this week.
   September’s job numbers show 700 new construction jobs were created last month.
   Annie Thompson with Governor Pat Quinn’s office said the new jobs are not included in the September jobless report and said she doesn’t know if it will be included in the October report.
   No one seems to know if the numbers by the Governor’s count are new jobs, old jobs, or current jobs.
Beth Spencer, communications director from Illinois AFL-CIO, said it doesn’t matter if the jobs were created or will be created.  The important part is that people are going back to work.
   “Part of the beauty of being a sitting governor is it’s your prerogative to make these announcements and it’s his pleasure and his prerogative. We’re just excited that it’s happening.”
   In the manufacturing sector, Quinn announced 250 new jobs at a new rail car manufacturing facility being built in Rochelle.
   Greg Baise, president of Illinois Manufacturing Association, said the timing of the job creation claims is not surprising.
   “It’s not unusual for governors to make claims like that, especially 12 days before a gubernatorial election,” Baise said. “So I guess we give governor’s a little latitude with these kinds of things.”
   Greg Rivara, spokesman for the IDES, said there is real improvement in Illinois.
   “[The state] added 8,600 jobs in the month of September and for the year so far Illinois has added 50,700,” Rivara said. “So we’ve had some positive economic job growth in the state. At the same time the unemployment rate has gone down. The unemployment rate fell for the sixth straight month to reach 9.9 percent.”
   Eleven thousand 800 people did lose their job in September, but Rivara said that was offset by 20,900 people finding jobs in September. Illinois’ unemployment rate is still slightly higher than the national rate, which is sitting at 9.6 percent.  Thompson with the governor’s office is quick to say that Illinois has added over 50,000 new jobs over the past six months.
   Story courtesy of Illinois Statehouse News. (Released Oct. 21.2010)