Dr. Geoff Hewings, chair of the Economics Department for the University of Illinois and director of its Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL), was in East Peoria this week talking to the leaders in the real estate industry gathered at the Illinois Association of REALTORS® Public Policy Meetings about the state of the Illinois economy and the housing market forecast.

Hewings said Illinois leaders in state government needs a broader “pro economy” perspective instead of choosing sides between labor and business. According to Hewings, since the early 1990s Illinois’ growth rate has fallen behind the United States and our neighboring states including Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa. The Illinois economy is closely tied to these states; when their economies improve so do ours since many of our exports and source of inputs come from these economies, according to Hewings.

In his presentation Dr. Hewings shared the slide below that shows for the state to recover in five years it will require 110,100 more jobs in Illinois per year. And while the unemployment rate in Illinois has been trending down in the last two months, the Illinois Department of Employment Security noted a loss of 9,400 jobs in December.

Significant job growth and a stronger economy hold the key for the housing market.  Watch this video Q&A with Dr. Hewings to hear more about the forecast.

Chart showing Illinois recovery scenarios