Frank Manzo IV is the Policy Director of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI). Visit ILEPI at http://www.illinoisepi.org or follow ILEPI on Twitter @illinoisEPI. After our previous post was published, ILEPI received a few emails and tweets. ILEPI responded to … Continue reading An Addendum on Construction Unions and Worker Wages and Productivity
Frank Manzo IV is the Policy Director of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI). Visit ILEPI at http://www.illinoisepi.org or follow ILEPI on Twitter @illinoisEPI. Recently released data illustrates the strongly positive relationship between unionization and productivity in the construction industry. … Continue reading Unions Increase Productivity in the Construction Industry
CHICAGO- A new study released today finds that labor unions play a vital role in Illinois’ communities and economy, but face major challenges. The study, The State of the Unions 2015: A Profile of Unionization in Chicago, in Illinois, and in America [PDF] was conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois (Robert Bruno, PhD), the University of Chicago (Virginia Parks, PhD), and the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (Frank Manzo IV, MPP).
Since 2005, union membership in Illinois has declined by approximately 97,000 workers, contributing to the 1.12 million drop in union members across the nation. Declining unionization in Illinois has primarily been the result of decreases in male, Latino/a, and private sector unionization.
However, there has been some good news for those in the Illinois labor movement. From 2012 to 2014, the state’s unionization rate increased from 14.6 percent to 15.1 percent, and total union membership increased by about 30,000 workers. Continue reading “Study – Union Power in Illinois is Significant, but Waning”
Frank Manzo IV is the Policy Director of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI). Visit ILEPI at http://www.illinoisepi.org or follow ILEPI on Twitter @illinoisEPI. Efforts to create local “right-to-work” zones would have negative impacts on workers and the economy in … Continue reading Local Right-to-Work Zones Would Weaken the Illinois Economy
Frank Manzo IV is the Policy Director of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI). Visit ILEPI at http://www.illinoisepi.org or follow ILEPI on Twitter @illinoisEPI. Illinois added the fourth-most jobs and saw the largest unemployment rate decline in America last year, according … Continue reading Illinois Added the Fourth-Most Jobs in 2014
Today the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI) released A Turnaround or a Turn Aground? Fact Checking Governor Rauner’s First Claims (PDF). The report evaluates statements made by new Governor Bruce Rauner during his first month in office. Governor Rauner’s ambitious policy agenda aims to fix Illinois’ fiscal crisis mainly through a constitutional amendment on public sector pensions, changes to the state’s tax code, and adjustments to the state’s labor laws– including banning political contributions from certain labor unions and implementing local right-to-work laws which reduce the power of unions. Would his proposals, if enacted, accomplish his goal of making Illinois a “competitive” and “compassionate” state? Are his policy proposals supported by evidence and fact? Of the eleven claims analyzed, ILEPI finds that:
- Two (18.2 percent) were found to be true,
- Three (27.3 percent) were rated as only half true, and
- Six (54.5 percent) were deemed to be false.
A summary of the fact check is below:
ONLY HALF TRUE: Illinois Job Creation Lags Behind Neighboring States
Rauner’s numbers are misleading and may be out of date. While the Illinois labor market has lagged slightly behind the economies of neighboring states, the actual disparity is much smaller than Rauner suggests. The largest year-over-year unemployment rate decline in America occurred in Illinois, where the unemployment rate fell by 2.7 percentage points. Using correct payroll data, this claim is found to be only half true.
FALSE: Illinois is Currently a Bad Place to Do Business
Outcomes matter. Rauner uses rankings of corporate executives to suggest that Illinois is a terrible place to do business, but the claims have no predictive power of a state’s unemployment rate and are negatively correlated with average wages in a state. A good state for business should be statistically related to lower unemployment and higher worker wages. The appropriate policy is to attract high-road employers with sound infrastructure and a skilled workforce. After completing the rest of the story, the claim that Illinois is a bad state in which to do business is found to be false.
TRUE: Raising the Minimum Wage to $10.00 Will Increase Earnings
To generate full economic benefits, the minimum wage should be expanded to cover employers with 2 or more employees, indexed to the chained-Consumer Price Index, paired with an expansion of the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, and be applicable to workers in their first 90 days of employment. Without these additions to the new minimum wage law, this claim will only be half true. With meaningful change, this claim is found to be true.
FALSE: Right-to-Work Would Help Workers in Illinois Continue reading “Fact Checking Governor Rauner”
Today, the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the University of Illinois jointly released Free-Rider States: How Low-Wage Employment in “Right-to-Work” States is Subsidized by the Economic Benefits of Collective Bargaining [PDF]. The report has three main findings:
- Right-to-work laws have negative impacts on the public budget;
- Workers in collective-bargaining states are subsidizing the low-wage model used by employers in right-to-work states; and
- Illinois would have been worse off if it was a right-to-work state in 2013.
A “right-to-work” law reduces worker earnings by 3.2 percent, reduces union membership by 9.6 percentage points, reduces the share of workers covered by a health insurance plan (3.5 percentage points) and by a pension plan (3.0 percentage points), and increases the poverty rate among workers by 0.9 percentage points.
All of this has negative impacts on the public budget. Lower worker earnings decrease income tax contributions: a right-to-work law lowers the after-credit federal income tax liability of workers by 11.1 percent. Lower worker earnings also increase the chances of a worker needing to rely on government assistance programs: workers in collective-bargaining states receive 18.9 percent less in tax relief from the Earned Income Tax Credit and 14.1 percent less in food stamp value than their counterparts in right-to-work states.
Additionally, right-to-work laws have inconclusive impacts on employment. While the report finds that they are associated with a small increase in hours and weeks worked by employees, this is likely because they are forced to work more time to earn anything close to their annual income in a collective-bargaining state. Furthermore, two case-studies using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics illustrate how right-to-work states have negligible impacts on total employment:
- In March 2012, Indiana enacted right-to-work. From March 2012 through July 2014, the Indiana unemployment rate fell from 8.0 percent to 5.9 percent– a 2.1 percentage point drop. At the same time, the unemployment rate of collective-bargaining Illinois fell by 2.0 percentage points. This difference is statistically insignificant.
- In January 2013, Michigan enacted right-to-work. From January 2013 through July 2014, the Michigan unemployment rate fell from 8.9 percent to 7.7 percent– a 1.2 percentage point drop. At the same time, the unemployment rate of collective-bargaining Illinois fell by 2.4 percentage points. This difference is significant, and shows how a right-to-work law does not lead to improved employment outcomes.
Frank Manzo IV is the Policy Director of the Illinois Economic Policy Institute (ILEPI). Visit ILEPI at www.illinoisepi.org or follow ILEPI on Twitter @illinoisEPI. The call by McHenry County Board Members to partner with other county governments to challenge Illinois’ prevailing wage determinations would be a waste of government resources, according to a new study by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute. The report, Building a Strong McHenry: How Prevailing Wage Works [PDF], finds that prevailing wage is necessary to prevent government bodies– such as the McHenry County Board– from using their massive purchasing power to undercut the established labor market. The policy is also … Continue reading McHenry County Should Adopt Its Prevailing Wage Ordinance
On May 20, 2014, ILEPI Policy Director Frank Manzo IV was a panelist on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight with Ted Dabrowski discussing the pros and cons of raising the minimum wage in Illinois. Manzo supported raising the minimum wage to $10.00 per hour while Dabrowski has endorsed abolishing Illinois’ minimum wage altogether. Here is a link to the segment, and below is additional information on the effects of raising the minimum wage in Illinois.
Should we raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour?
The Illinois economy is still recovering from the Great Recession. The unemployment rate is about one and a half percentage points lower today than it was one year ago. But the recovery has seen an ongoing rise in income inequality in the labor market. To partially offset the income gap– independent of any action (or nonaction) at the federal level– Illinois should raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour.
In 2012, 1 million of the state’s 6 million workers earned less than $10 an hour. Of these one million low-wage earners, 57 percent were female, 45 percent were nonwhite, and 60 percent worked full-time (35 hours a week or more). In a study co-authored with the University of Illinois, ILEPI found that raising the minimum wage to $10 would increase worker income by $2 billion for these low-wage workers and lift 60,000 to 100,000 Illinois residents above the poverty line, reducing reliance on government programs and lowering costs to taxpayers. These workers would then spend that new income back in the economy, resulting in $7 billion in new economic output, and either a very small drop or a very small gain in employment. Thus, in Illinois, a state where the cost of living is higher than the national average, a raise to $10 would be beneficial to the economy. See the full report here [pdf].
Why does the minimum wage have a stimulative impact? What about economic theory which says it reduces jobs?
We know that reality is, unfortunately, far more complex than economic theory. Research shows little to no discernible impact of the minimum wage on employment. Most estimates on the supposed reduction in jobs are between zero percent and less than a fraction of a percent— it would be a false representation of economic research to suggest otherwise. We also know that poorer Americans spend higher shares of their incomes in the economy than richer Americans. One 2009 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago found that “spending increases substantially after a minimum wage hike.” For every $1 increase in the minimum wage, families with a minimum wage earner raise spending by $744 to $869 per year.
Isn’t the minimum wage a job killer for small businesses? Continue reading “ICYMI: ILEPI on Chicago Tonight Discussing Minimum Wage”
Today, ILEPI released a Policy Brief on The Benefits of Doing Business in Illinois [pdf].
Too often, the public policy discourse is focused on costs. The costs of labor, the costs of transportation, the costs of taxes. Costs, costs, costs. Lost in the discourse is an emphasis on the benefits of policies.
The Benefits of Doing Business in Illinois finds that – despite sluggish economic growth, a high unemployment rate, and moderately high tax rates – Illinois remains a great place to do business. Below are 10 important facts found in the report about Illinois’ pro-business environment:
1. After adjusting for inflation, the Illinois economy has grown by 10.6 percent since 2000. This growth is less than the nation as a whole (19.6 percent), but higher than the rest of Illinois’ neighbors put together (7.6 percent). The Illinois economy has expanded by more than the greater region since 2005 as well.
2. Per capita personal income has grown by $1,510 since 2005 and is now $45,832 in Illinois. The national average is $43,735 while the average for Illinois’ neighbors is just $40,165. Income growth has been about 3.5 percent for all regions. Higher incomes translate into higher consumer demand in the Illinois market. Continue reading “ILEPI Releases Report on the Benefits of Doing Business in Illinois”