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November unemployment rate unchanged at 5.6%

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate in November remained at 5.6 percent and nonfarm payrolls increased by +1,700 jobs over the month, based on preliminary data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and IDES. October job growth was revised up to show an increase of +3,400 jobs rather than the preliminary figure of +2,200 jobs. Despite the upward revision, job growth remains below the national average, with Illinois -29,600 jobs short of its peak employment level reached in September 2000.

“Through 11 months of 2016, the nation’s rate of growth continues to outpace our rate by 50 percent,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “The biggest sector gains have been in professional and business services with 37,200 jobs added, while the biggest losses have been in manufacturing, with 8,700 fewer jobs.”

“If Illinois had grown at the same rate as the nation since the beginning of the recovery in 2010, we would have an additional 222,700 jobs,” said Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity Acting Director Sean McCarthy. “With a balanced budget and structural reforms, our economy will be better able to grow jobs and provide opportunities for Illinois families.”

In November, the three industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were: Education and Health Services (+3,500); Leisure and Hospitality (+3,100); and Other Services (+1,800). The four industry sectors with the largest declines in employment were: Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-2,800); Construction (-2,300); Manufacturing (-700) and Information (-700).

Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +43,000 jobs with the largest gains in two industry sectors: Professional and Business Services (+35,400); and Leisure and Hospitality (+17,700). Industry sectors with the largest over-the-year declines in November include: Manufacturing (-10,100), Financial Activities (-5,600) and Information (-5,200). The +0.7 percent over-the-year gain in Illinois is less than the +1.6 percent gain posted by the nation in November.

The state’s unemployment rate is higher than the national unemployment rate reported for November 2016, which declined to 4.6 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.4 percentage points from a year ago when it was 6.0 percent.

The number of unemployed workers increased +0.5 percent from the prior month to 368,500, down -6.4 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force was little changed over-the-month and grew by +0.5 percent in November 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). IJL recently showed 73,997 resumes were posted and 162,505 help wanted ads were available.


Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates


Illinois Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs – by Major Industry
Industry titleNovember* 2016October** 2016November 2015Over-the-Month ChangeOver-the-Year Change3-Month Moving Avg.Change From Previous 3-Month Mov. Avg.
Total Nonfarm6,025,5006,023,8005,982,5001,7004,3006,023,2005,500
Trade, Transportation, & Utilities1,201,2001,204,0001,204,700-2,800-3,5001,204,500-2,100
Financial Activities375,200375,600380,800-400-5,600375,500-700
Professional and business Services952,900953,000917,500-10035,400950,4004,200
Educational and Health Services917,000913,500906,8003,50010,200914,5002,800
Leisure and Hospitality601,800598,700587,1003,10017,700599,700400
Other Services258,300256,500255,5001,8002,800257,800100



  • Monthly 2011 – 2015 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. For these reasons, comments and tables citing unemployment rates in previous state news releases/materials might 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 1994 – 2014 unadjusted and seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll 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.
  • 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.