Neck deep in up to $12 billion of red ink, Illinois made it through 2009—barely. The city of Chicago just squeaked by as well. In November, Mayor Daley and city council members raided the long-term parking-meter-lease proceeds for $370 million to close the city’s $520-million deficit and balance this year’s budget. And Cook County? Don’t even get us started.

Beyond that, it seems like there hasn’t been much to cheer about around here lately. The Bears disappointed. The Olympics are headed to Rio. Oprah is going west. And Asian carp are knocking at the shores of Lake Michigan. We even learned last year that the famed Tsavo lions on display at the Field Museum were not as ferocious as advertised.

On the occasion of Governor Quinn’s State of the State address (January 13th), we take a glimpse at the sorry state of our state. Don’t blame us; we’re just the messenger.

250,400: Number of jobs lost in 2009 (through November 2009) (Source: Illinois Department of Employment Security)

723,100: Number of workers unemployed (through November 2009) (Source: Illinois Department of Employment Security)

288: Number of jobs created in Illinois from the $787-billion federal stimulus bill (Source:

$75,173: Cost to taxpayers per job created (Source: Illinois Policy Institute)

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1: Number of seats in the U.S. House Illinois is expected to lose after this year’s reapportionment

18: Likely number of U.S. House seats in Illinois after the 2010 reapportionment

27: Number of U.S. House seats in Illinois before the 1940 Census

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Jay Cutler and Brett Favre

27/26: Jay Cutler’s TD/interception ratio (through 16 games)

33/7: Brett Favre’s TD/interception ratio (through 16 games) (Source:

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"The Governor" by Rod Blagojevich

3,000: copies sold (as of December 2009) of The Governor, by Rod Blagojevich (Source: Nielsen)

60,982: sales ranking

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Chicago: "Most stressful city" (Source: Forbes, August 2009)

148: The Chicago metro area’s ranking (out of 200) among the “best performing cities” (Source: Milken Institute)

20: Number of Illinois banks that failed in 2009 (through December 2009) (Source: Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation)

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$345.39: Price for four cases of Pepsi at plastics convention at McCormick Place

2: Confirmed number of big trade shows—the Plastics Industry Trade Association and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conventions—that are moving out of Chicago because of the high costs at McCormick Place

$150.3 million: Estimated amount of local spending generated by the two shows in 2009 (Source: Chicago Tribune)

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135: Number of humans killed and eaten by the Tsavo lions, claimed by the Field Museum

“The possible range is between 4 and 72 humans, but 35 is most likely,” according to new scientific evidence from analyzing the lions’ bones and fur. (Source: Chicago Tribune)


Photography: (Cutler) Chicago Tribune photo by Phil Velasquez, (Favre) Chicago Tribune photo by José M. Osorio, (lioness) Sandra Schänzer/© Imagebroker/Alamy