Now let’s look at what people were paid for working in these two states. In 2007, private sector workers in Illinois averaged $856 per week, $31 more than the average American worker. That same year, Hoosier workers averaged $766 per week, $90 short of the Illinois average worker, and $59 below the U.S. average.
Yes, earnings improved. Hoosier workers saw average weekly earnings climb by $58 over six years (8.2 percent), but Illinois had a $67 increase (8.5 percent) and, for the country, average earnings advanced by $101 per week (nearly 14 percent). In manufacturing, touted as the engine of our state’s economy, average weekly earnings rose by 16 percent nationally, 12 percent in Illinois and a measly 5 percent in Indiana.
Since inflation totaled 12 percent in this period, neither Hoosiers nor Illini had real gains in buying power.
Thus, we did less poorly than Illinois in job growth.
But workers in Indiana did worse than workers in Illinois in the money paid for their labors. Are our state’s policies responsible for this?
Morton Marcus is an economist, writer, and speaker who may be reached at email@example.com.