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Illinois Unemployment rate holds at 5.5%

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate in September held at 5.5 percent and nonfarm payrolls increased by 7,400 jobs over the month, based on preliminary data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and IDES. Job growth is still below the national average, with Illinois -38,800 jobs short of its peak employment level reached in September 2000.

“Job growth has been uneven over the past several months,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “Even with net job growth this year, Illinois still lags the nation in its recovery from the recession.”

“While we are seeing growth for some in the service sector, Illinois continues to lose middle class manufacturing jobs,” Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity Acting Director Sean McCarthy said. “In the last year, Illinois has lost 12,000 manufacturing jobs. That’s an average of 1,000 families losing vital income every month, while manufacturing grew nationally. We need reforms to make sure these families aren’t left behind.”

In September, the three industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were: Professional and Business Services (+5,100); Educational and Health Services (+1,500); and Other Services (+1,200). The three industry sectors with the largest declines in employment were: Financial Activities (-1,300); Manufacturing (-800); and Leisure and Hospitality (-500).

Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +43,400 jobs with the largest gains in two industry sectors: Professional and Business Services (+23,500); and Leisure and Hospitality (+21,600). Industry sectors with the largest over-the-year declines in September include: Manufacturing (-12,700) and Information Services (-4,000). The +0.7 percent over-the-year gain in Illinois is less than the +1.7 percent gain posted by the nation in September.

The state’s unemployment rate is higher than the national unemployment rate reported for September 2016, which inched up to 5.0 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.4 percentage points from a year ago when it was 5.9 percent.  The unemployment rate stands at its lowest (for the second straight month) since January 2008. The number of unemployed and the labor force edged down over-the-month, the fifth consecutive drop this year.

The number of unemployed workers decreased -0.9 percent from the prior month to 360,500, down -5.4 percent over the same month for the prior year. The number of unemployed persons stands at its lowest level since September 2007. The labor force grew by +0.8 percent in September over the prior year, but decreased -0.1 percent over-the-month. 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 IllinoisJoblink.com (IJL). IJL recently showed that 63,057 resumes were posted and 175,741 help wanted ads were available.