Illinois remains among the top five states with more people leaving than arriving to settle, ranking third, behind New Jersey and New York, in the 39th annual Movers Study by United Van Lines.
The survey tracked the countrywide migration patterns of customers through 2015 and found that 63 percent of all moves in Illinois involved people leaving the state, the fifth time in seven years the state has ranked in the top five of outbound movers.
The Illinois figure is in contrast to Oregon's, which topped the list for inbound migration, with 69 percent moving to the state.
The survey found that the top reasons for moving to Oregon were a new job or company transfer, 53 percent; and wanting to be closer to family, 20 percent. The study ranks as high those states posting a figure of 55 percent or more, either inbound or outbound.
Todd Maisch, president of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, told Illinois Business Daily there are multiple reasons why people decide to move, including the weather. But, “there is a sense that Illinois’ economy is not growing as rapidly as it should and that job prospects are not as good as elsewhere,” Maisch said.
Maisch said that studies show people believe job prospects are better in right-to-work states, those that limit the ability of workers to organize through unions.
“There are multiple reasons, but one of the things that jumps out is that people are moving south, to right-to-work states,” Maisch said.
The chamber supports Gov. Bruce Rauner’s turnaround agenda, a list of measures the governor claims will make Illinois more business friendly. Rauner's insistence on pushing for nonbudget measures, such as reforms to collective bargaining, is part of the reason for the budget impasse in the state, the governor's opponents, including Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, said.
“I think that growing the economy has to be part of the long-term solution to Illinois’ economic problems,” Maisch said. “If there is not economic growth, we are not going to generate enough tax. The unemployment rate is still higher than the national average."
“It is usually the case where we snap back to being better than the national average," Maisch said. "now we continue to lag permanently.
The chamber last week published a new economic competitiveness study that ranked the state’s strengths and weaknesses.
The study, conducted by Northwood University on behalf of the Illinois Chamber Foundation, found that Illinois moved up to 39th from 46th in economic competitiveness.
The authors studied the general macroeconomic environment, state debt and taxation, workforce cost, and the regulatory environment.
“While Illinois moved up, this study proves that the Land of Lincoln is well situated for an economic comeback,” Maisch said. “We can make a quick snap back if we just get out of our own way.”
Northwood University Professor Timothy Nash, the study’s author, asked if Illinois could return to the position of greatness it once occupied in the U.S. business structure.
“Yes, but only by adopting growth-friendly public policies," Nash said. "Illinois must set its sights high and benchmark to best economic and political practices of this country’s top-performing states. The good news is that many neighboring states have shown progress and policy change. Illinois can do the same if it has the will.”