(The Center Square) – To mark October as Manufacturing Month, state officials Wednesday touted the thousands of manufacturing jobs in Illinois, but an industry official paints a different picture.
State officials celebrated the 40th new manufacturing announcement this year in Illinois, with news that a magnesium casting plant in Dixmoor is expanding, adding 40 jobs.
Chicago Magnesium Casting Co., founded in 1953, manufactures castings for helicopters, jet fighters, jumbo transports and regional jets used to support the military and commercial aerospace industry.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the announcement follows a series of actions his administration has taken to attract more investment and growth in the manufacturing sector.
“In partnership with the General Assembly, we established a business apprenticeship tax credit, encouraging investment in new job creation and workforce development,” Pritzker said.
Sylvia Garcia, acting director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, expects growth in Illinois’ manufacturing sector.
“For 550,000 Illinoisans work in the manufacturing industry today and make products that are in over 200 countries across the globe,” Garcia said.
Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers Association, said Illinois is not growing like its neighbors.
“You just look at what’s happened to Illinois over the last ten years, since January 2011, we have lost 19,000 manufacturing jobs,” Denzler said.
In contrast, he said Indiana during that same period has gained 75,000 manufacturing jobs. He said that Michigan, Missouri, Kentucky and Wisconsin have also added manufacturing jobs during that time.
“We have the second-highest property taxes in the nation,” Denzler said. “The governor and General Assembly just added a significant cost to electric bills that manufacturers and Illinois residents are going to be facing, so there are a number of challenges that manufacturers face in Illinois to be competitive.”