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October 11, 2019

 

 
 

Illinois voters are more optimistic about the direction of the state compared to 2018, according to the latest Illinois Issues Survey conducted by the Survey Research Office at the University of Illinois Springfield. Compared to the 2018 edition of this survey (14%), twice as many respondents (28%) in 2019 describe Illinois as heading in the right direction. Nearly three in ten Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (29%) and Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents (31%) say the state is heading in the right direction compared to less than one-fifth (17%) of non-leaning independents. In 2018, 15% of respondents described the economy of Illinois as “excellent” or “good.” In 2019, this has risen to 23%. While nearly a quarter of voters in Cook County (24%) and the collar counties (24%) rate the economy “excellent” or “good,” slightly less (21%) of downstate voters do. While a majority of voters say they have considered moving out of Illinois, far fewer report having taken steps to do so. Over a quarter of respondents who have considered moving out of Illinois say they’ve looked up the cost of living in another state (28%) and looked at housing in a new state (26%). However, only 2% have submitted paperwork to rent or buy housing in a new state. Further, 16% of respondents who have considered moving have looked at jobs elsewhere, but only 5% report applying for jobs. The three most common reasons cited for moving by voters who have considered leaving the state are lower state taxes (27%), state government policies (17%), and better weather (15%).

 

 
 

Why does one manufacturer generate more revenue per total hours worked by its employees than another manufacturer in the same industry? Take the computer equipment industry. The more productive plants in that industry generate about 400% more real revenue per total hours worked than the less productive plants in it. Other industries, such as shoes and cement, have smaller differences in productivity but those differences are still large. In fact, within the average manufacturing industry in 2015, the latest year for which data is available, plants exhibit enormous differences in real (adjusted for inflation) revenue per total hours worked. More productive plants — at the 75th percentile of the productivity distribution — generate approximately 150% more real revenue per hour than less productive plants that are at the 25th percentile (Figure 1). To explore this question and related topics, use the new statistical product recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics: the Dispersion Statistics on Productivity (DiSP).

 

 
 

Suicide claims the lives of almost 50,000 people in the United States each year, making it the 10th leading cause of death. An additional 10 million adults consider suicide each year, with almost 1.5 million of those making a nonfatal attempt. Underlying those statistics are the countless other lives that are touched by suicide, as people mourn the loss of loved ones and wonder what else could have been done. Rural areas have higher suicide rates than urban areas, and indeed have suffered faster increases in recent years. Counties with more social fragmentation (e.g., people living alone, living unmarried, renting their homes, or moving recently) and less social capital (e.g., the number of associations, organizations and participation in civic and community life) both have higher rates of suicide, as do counties with more veterans, more gun shops and more people who are uninsured. If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.

 

 
 

The U.S. Census Bureau released population breakdowns in Illinois last month, reflecting decreases in 86 of the state’s 102 counties. Due to this decline, Illinois could lose up to two seats in Congress. In addition to the loss of population and representation, a potential undercount threatens billions of dollars in federal funding for everyday government expenditures, such as highways, education, and more. University of Illinois Extension will welcome experts on their Local Government Education (LGE) webinar series to explain how and why local governments and advocacy groups should help ensure an accurate count. On Thursday, October 17 at Noon CST, LGE will host a webinar entitled Counting For Dollars: Census 2020, presented by Carrie L. Davis, Democracy Program Director of the Joyce Foundation, Anita Banjeri from Forefront’s Democracy Initiative, and Elissa Johnson from the U.S. Regional Census Bureau. Each expert will give an overview of their respective programs and speak to how important the roles of local governments are in ensuring an accurate count for the upcoming decennial census. For more information, and registration, click HERE.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

October 9-10 (Springfield, IL) - Illinois Regional Collaboration Summit

October 17 (LGE Webinar) - Counting for Dollars: Census 2020

October 24-25 (Dubuque, IA) - Growing Sustainable Communities Conference

November 12 (Springfield, IL) - Rural Partners lunch and information session addressing the 2020 Census; Noon to 2 p.m. For more information, contact Rural Partners at info@ruralpartners.org

November 14 (LGE Webinar) - Minimum Wage in Illinois