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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2005

GOV. BLAGOJEVICH HIGHLIGHTS THAT ILLINOIS’ JOB GROWTH RATE CONTINUES TO LEAD NATION
Three-Month Trend Indicates Economic Development and Job Creation Strategies are Working for Illinois

CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich highlighted additional evidence today that the Illinois economy continues to improve. The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the state has experienced a trend of job growth that exceeds the nation’s rate of growth for the third consecutive month. This is the first time this has happened in nearly eight years. The IDES statistics also show that, through the past three months, nearly 40,000 new jobs have been created and more people across Illinois are at work. This job creation and rate of growth is a good indication that Gov. Blagojevich’s economic development initiatives and workforce investments are paying important dividends for the state.

"In just over two years, Illinois has made a marked economic turnaround, and today we are putting more people back to work. In the past three months alone, nearly 40,000 men and women have found new jobs. This is a great testament to the business leaders and entrepreneurs in our state, as well as the resiliency of the Illinois economy and a business and economic development climate that encourages job creation and business growth," Gov. Blagojevich said.

Gov. Blagojevich’s economic development and job creation strategy for the state is known as Opportunity Returns. Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – each with a regional team that is empowered and expected to rapidly respond to opportunities and challenges. Opportunity Returns is about tangible, specific actions to make each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial and more attractive to businesses. It is about upgrading the skills of the local workforce, increasing the access to capital, opening new markets, improving infrastructure, and creating and retaining jobs.

"It’s very encouraging to see this three month trend of job growth, because that means Gov. Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns strategy is accomplishing its mission - creating jobs. This is the right strategy for Illinois because we’re partnering with companies and communities throughout the state, investing in our workforce and making bold plans for today and tomorrow," Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Jack Lavin said.

For more information on Illinois' labor statistics, visit www.ides.state.il.us.



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