Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance (SSGA) is excited about recent data that is not only good news for the Springfield and Sangamon County community but also indicates success for one of the organization’s key goals – to have more people living and working in Springfield and Sangamon County. According to the findings of a preliminary data report from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), there are thirteen hundred more employed people in Springfield now than before the pandemic began and the unemployment rate has decreased 0.4 percent for the month of May 2022 in comparison to May 2021 to 4.7%.
“As the region’s economic development leader, this report is a big deal to us because it shows our efforts are working,” said Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance CEO, Ryan McCrady. “We are proud of our economy here in Springfield, and how our businesses and workers have persevered to create jobs coming out of the pandemic. There were times when it was an extraordinary struggle for some families. Today, it is great to know we’ve not only pushed past that together but have exceeded our goal of creating an additional one thousand stable jobs that weren’t there in February of 2020.”
Another key point in the community’s economic recovery is the wages being paid to local workers. According to BLS information, the average hourly wage for a private employer in the Springfield MSA is now nearly $30.00 per hour. This is an increase of $5.00 per hour since early 2020.
“Workers in our community are enjoying both expanded employment opportunities and increased wages. This will result in improved financial conditions and additional spending to support retail, restaurant and other sectors in the local economy. We have more people working than before the pandemic and they are earning higher wages,” McCrady stated.
The unemployment rate in Springfield decreased from 5.1 percent in May 2021 to 4.7 percent in May 2022. The number of non-farming jobs available in the Springfield area has increased by 4,000 in comparison to last year. According to a BLS and IDES report, Springfield has also seen payroll growth in education and health services, leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, information, retail trade, manufacturing, government, and other services.
SSGA celebrated a landmark year in 2021 in terms of economic development and new partnership opportunities for the region. The business development organization played an instrumental role in pushing forward several significant community projects including the Land of Lincoln Energy Center (LLEC), Double Black Diamond Solar, which will be the largest solar development in Illinois, SCHEELS Sports Park at Legacy Pointe and Riverton TA Truck Stop. These four projects alone, are estimated to create an economic impact of over $1 billion to the region over the next five years.
“Our goals at SSGA have always been to attract new businesses and workforce opportunities to this area, encourage and support growth among local businesses, and ignite community pride by highlighting all this area has to offer,” said McCrady. “We hope to see this trend continue because it's great for not only businesses but our community as a whole.”