Mt. Vernon Register-News

State News

September 9, 2013

Gov. claims 80K jobs from foreign firms since 2009

(Continued)

CHICAGO — —

His office said that the number of people employed by foreign firms in Illinois has increased every year since 2009, going from 280,419 to 359,775 in July this year. More than 450 foreign companies have located to Illinois in the same time.

Still, Illinois has high unemployment. The state's rate in July was 9.2 percent, the second highest in the nation. Illinois —which has the nation's worst-funded pension system and billions in unpaid bills — has also faced criticism for not doing enough to promote business.

Quinn has focused on Illinois' high export numbers, something that every state in the country has also increased. He's led three major trade missions in his tenure: China in 2011 and Brazil and Canada the following year.

Chamber of Commerce President Doug Whitley said the travel does help in other ways.

"When Quinn makes an international trip, that's a way of beginning to show that he's change the tone, trying to change the image," he said. "He's trying, and rightly so, to send a different message about who we are and what we're about."

He said when one company establishes itself in Illinois, others follow. He pointed to the heavy presence of international companies in Elgin and Rockford.

Job creation is bound to be a popular topic as Quinn seeks re-election next year. He's billed himself as the "jobs governor" and his Democratic opponent Bill Daley is a former U.S. commerce secretary.

Daley said Monday that Quinn's trips haven't gone far enough.

"I have led trade missions with business leaders that have brought billions of dollars and thousands of jobs back to America and that would be a big priority of mine as governor," he said in a statement.

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