The energy industry is a powerful engine in the Illinois economy, directly or indirectly producing 150,000 jobs and creating $80 billion in economic output, according to a groundbreaking study released today by the Illinois Chamber Foundation.
The study shows how important it is for Illinois to retain and attract well-paying energy jobs. The study, "The Economic Impacts of the Energy Industry in Illinois," was conducted by the Regional Development Institute (RDI) at Northern Illinois University and includes these findings:
"As we look at possible economic engines that could propel Illinois' economy for decades to come, we need to look no further than the energy industry," said Doug Whitley, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.
"One of the most surprising aspects of the energy industry in Illinois was the level of employee compensation. The average in the energy industry is 50 percent higher than the state's average," said John Lewis, Ph.D., associate vice president and director of the Regional Development Institute (RDI) at Northern Illinois University. "
The study provides conservative estimates because it includes only operational jobs and not the economic impact of constructing the energy infrastructure in Illinois (i.e. power facilities, pipelines, transmission lines, office and administration buildings). In addition, the researchers were unable to measure with any reliability the economic impact of companies involved in improving energy efficiency and conservation.
"Billions of dollars will be spent on energy efficiency, generation and infrastructure in the United States during the next few decades and Illinois has the chance to become a leader in the 21st Century energy portfolio," Whitley said. "It's up to our state's business and political leadership to create a regulatory, legislative and economic environment that makes Illinois the destination for energy projects – from efficiency measures to research and development, from alternative energy advancements to the better use of today's energy resources."
To access the executive summary as well as the full content of the study, please go to www.ilchamber.org and click on the Energy Council page.