The state's continued net loss in population is affecting the workforce.
U.S. Census Bureau statistics show Illinois lost population since the beginning of the decade, and about 33,000 people left in the past year.
Brian Harger is a research associate with Northern Illinois University’s Center for Governmental Studies. He says the three biggest factors in the decline are falling birthrates, out-migration by U.S. citizens, and a leveling out of foreign immigration to the Chicago area.
According to Harger, jobs are taking a hit.
“Our job growth coming out of the recession lagged behind the rest of the country. It’s struggling a bit,” he said. “That’s probably being felt more in the areas outside Chicago, the downstate metropolitan areas, especially the rural areas.”
The declining number of jobs means current firms are focusing on attracting younger employees before they move out of state.