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Statewide Unemployment Rate and Jobs Decline in November

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate fell -0.5 percentage point to 6.9 percent, while nonfarm payrolls lost -20,000 jobs in November, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The October monthly change in payrolls was revised from the preliminary report, from -1,100 to +7,000 jobs. The October unemployment rate was revised upward from the preliminary report, from 6.8 percent to 7.4 percent.

The November payroll jobs estimate and unemployment rate reflects activity for the week including the 12th. The BLS has published FAQs for the November payroll jobs and the unemployment rate.

The state’s unemployment rate was +0.2 percentage point higher than the national unemployment rate reported for November, which was 6.7 percent, down -0.2 percentage point from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was up +3.2 percentage points from a year ago when it was 3.7 percent.

In November, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were: Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+6,500), Professional and Business Services (+5,300) and Construction (+2,300). The industry sectors that reported the largest payroll declines were: Leisure and Hospitality (-27,400), Manufacturing (-2,900) and Educational and Health Services (-2,000).

“IDES and the Governor’s Office remain dedicated to supporting claimants and their families, as we continue working to strengthen the state’s economy,” said Deputy Governor Dan Hynes. “With critical federal programs set to expire after the week ending December 26th, IDES is working quickly to inform claimants about these impending changes. The department and the Pritzker administration are advocating for continuity at the federal level to support claimants, as we work towards a full recovery from the pandemic’s economic impact on Illinois workers.”

“While the latest unemployment data continue to show the significant challenges COVID-19 places upon workers and businesses throughout our state, we are resolute in our commitment to overcoming the virus, and helping get the economy back on track,” said Erin Guthrie, Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). “From day one, our administration has led with a comprehensive response to protect Illinois communities and to address economic hardship created during this crisis – with over $1 billion launched since March to assist small businesses and communities in need. With the arrival of a vaccine in Illinois this week, and with continued adherence to public health guidelines, we are confident that in the months ahead we’ll continue to progress in reopening major industries, restoring our communities and reviving our Illinois economy.”

Compared to a year ago, nonfarm payroll employment decreased by -412,600 jobs, with losses across all major industries. The industry groups with the largest jobs decreases were: Leisure and Hospitality (-153,900), Educational and Health Services
(-57,100) and Government (-51,200). Illinois nonfarm payrolls were down -6.8 percent over-the-year as compared to the nation’s -6.1 percent over-the-year decline in November.

The number of unemployed workers decreased from the prior month, a -8.7 percent decline to 425,900 but was up +80.8 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force was down -2.4 percent over-the-month and down -4.6 percent over-the-year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and seeking employment. An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.

In May, Governor Pritzker launched Get Hired Illinois, a new one-stop-shop website to help connect job seekers with hiring employers in real time. The site features virtual job fairs, no-cost virtual training, and includes Illinois Job Link (IJL), the state’s largest job search engine, which recently showed 49,114 posted resumes with 87,490 available jobs.

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

Illinois Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs – by Major Industry

• 2015-2019 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. For these reasons, the comments and tables citing unemployment rates in previous 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.
• Monthly 2011-2019 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.
• Not seasonally adjusted jobs data with industry detail are available here. “Other Services” include activities in three broad categories: personal and laundry; repair and maintenance; and religious, grant making, civic and professional organizations.  Seasonally adjusted data for subsectors within industries are not available.

About the Department of Employment Security
The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) provides vital employment services to Illinois workers, employers, and job seekers with resources including Job Fairs and Illinois Job Link, analyzes and disseminates actionable Labor Market Information, and administers the Unemployment Insurance Program.  To see the full range of services provided by IDES, and for the latest news concerning the department, visit

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