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Illinois Payrolls Rise and Unemployment Dips in February

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate decreased by -0.1 percentage point to 4.7 percent in February and nonfarm payrolls increased by +15,200 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. January jobs were revised down to show a slight drop (-1,300 jobs) rather than a slight gain as initially reported (+200 jobs).

Job growth improved in the December to February period posting average monthly gains of +4,400 jobs, an increase over the prior three-month period (September to November 2017) with average monthly gains of +3,100 jobs.

“Illinois job growth is starting the year off with stronger momentum as average growth has picked up in early 2018,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “At the same time, the unemployment rate has declined to an 11-year low.”

“The work of the administration is paying off as employers around the world look to Illinois to expand their business,” said Director of the Illinois Department of Commerce Sean McCarthy. “Our goal is to continue to build upon these positive results by attracting investment and creating good paying jobs for all Illinoisans.”

In February, the three industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were: Government (+7,300); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+5,900); and Professional and Business Services (+5,500). The three industry sectors with the largest payroll declines were: Leisure and Hospitality (-2,900); Education and Health Services (-1,800); and Other Services (-900).

Over-the-year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +48,700 jobs with the largest gains in these industry sectors in February: Manufacturing (+18,100); Leisure and Hospitality (+8,200); and Government (+8,000). The industry sectors with the largest over-the-year declines include: Information Services (-4,600); Other Services (-1,100); and Mining (-400). Illinois nonfarm payrolls were up +0.8 percent over-the-year in sharp contrast to the nation’s +1.6 percent over-the-year gain in February.

The state’s unemployment rate is +0.6 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for February 2018, which held at 4.1 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.4 percentage points from a year ago when it was 5.1 percent. The Illinois jobless rate last stood at 4.7 percent in April 2007.

The number of unemployed workers dipped -2.0 percent from the prior month to 305,300, down -7.4 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force was unchanged over-the-month and also over the prior year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and are seeking employment.

An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work. To help connect jobseekers to employers who are hiring, IDES’ maintains the state’s largest job search engine, (IJL), which recently showed 63,180 posted resumes with 190,226 jobs available.

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

Illinois Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs – by Major Industry

• 1976-2017 seasonally adjusted labor force data for Illinois, and all other states, have been revised as required by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  The monthly historical revisions to state labor force estimates reflect new national benchmark controls, state working-age population controls, seasonal factors, as well as updated total nonfarm jobs and unemployment benefits claims inputs.  Illinois labor force data were also smoothed to eliminate large monthly changes as a result of volatility in the monthly Census Population Survey (CPS) and national benchmarking. In February 2018, the BLS also introduced a new seasonal adjustment procedure for state labor force estimates which resulted in the entire monthly historical series for Illinois and all other states being replaced. For all of these reasons, the comments and tables citing unemployment rates in previous state news releases/materials may no longer be valid.
• Monthly seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for Illinois and the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights Metropolitan Division are available here: Illinois & Chicago Metropolitan Area Unemployment Rates
• Monthly 2013-2017 seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment data for Illinois have been revised. To control for potential survey error, the estimates are benchmarked annually to universal counts derived primarily from unemployment insurance tax reports. Effective with January 2018 estimates, the BLS introduced concurrent seasonal adjustment for monthly state nonfarm payroll employment estimates
• Not seasonally adjusted jobs data with industry detail are available at Not Seasonally Adjusted Jobs. “Other Services” include activities in three broad categories: Personal and laundry; repair and maintenance; and religious, grant making, civic and professional organizations.  Seasonally adjusted employment data for subsectors within industries are not available

About IDES: IDES encourages employment by connecting employers to jobseekers, provides unemployment insurance benefits to eligible individuals, produces labor market data and protects taxpayers from unemployment insurance fraud. Visit the Department’s website at for more information. You can also follow IDES on Twitter and Facebook.