The Union-Business Case for Firm Relocation and Investment in Illinois and Peoria is available here.
In April 2016, the Project for Middle Class Renewal at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Illinois Economic Policy Institute jointly released an economic commentary outlining the top ten reasons for a business to locate to the Peoria area in Illinois. The report, which was originally limited to the Peoria area, is now available to the broader public.
Illinois offers abundant opportunities for business to thrive. The state’s strategic location, highly-educated workforce, access to capital and cutting-edge research, and reasonable business costs all provide enticing reasons for businesses to locate in Illinois. As a result, 37 Fortune 500 corporations call Illinois “home.”
Below are the top ten reasons for a business to locate to the Peoria area in Illinois:
1. Illinois has the largest intermodal inland port in the Western Hemisphere, with more than 110 public-use airports, almost 7,000 miles of freight railroad tracks, and 145,000 miles of highways.
2. Illinois has 3 of the top 50 national universities and Bradley University, ranked 6th among regional universities in the Midwest, is located in Peoria.
3. Over half of Peoria’s manufacturing workforce has at least some college-level training, considerably higher than manufacturing employees in other states.
4. Illinois residents are very productive, adding nearly $98,000 in annual output per worker.
5. While unionization is relatively high in Illinois, production worker wages in the state are competitive with the region.
6. Consumer spending is high in Illinois, exceeding regional neighbors by between $2,200 and $7,500 per resident.
7. The workplace fatality rate is much lower in Illinois than in neighboring states.
8. The turnover rate in the manufacturing sector in Peoria County is 4.1%, lower than the manufacturing turnover rates in adjacent states, which range from 5.0% to 6.0%.
9. Over the past 5 years, there have been zero “major work stoppages” in the private sector in Illinois.
10. Business costs in Illinois are competitive with the national average and have trended downward over the past few decades.
The biggest impediment to business growth in the Peoria area is the State of Illinois budget crisis. Illinois has gone two years without an annual operating budget. The backlog of bills has nearly tripled over the past two years from about $5 billion when Governor Rauner assumed office to $14.3 billion today, and businesses have lost confidence in Illinois.
Budget stability is pro-business. Recently, the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club, a pro-business group in Chicago, drafted proposal to raise $8 billion in new revenues and cut $2 billion in spending. The group notes that businesses are more concerned about Illinois’ fiscal future than tax rates: “Increasing uncertainty about the State’s fiscal future– as well as the ongoing damage to Illinois’ schools, universities and public services– makes Illinois less attractive to businesses considering where to locate or expand jobs, despite all of its other advantages.”
The Peoria area remains a great place to do business. The region has the right people, infrastructure, and institutions – the foundations of strong economic progress. However, state lawmakers must fix the budget in order to restore investor confidence in Illinois and unleash economic growth in communities across the state.
The Full Report is available here.