The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate declined 0.3 percentage points to 5.4 percent in February and nonfarm payrolls increased by +25,600 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data proved by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. January job growth was revised up to show an increase of +8,100 jobs rather than the preliminary estimate of +1,700 jobs. February’s monthly payroll gain kept over-the-year job growth well below the national average, but Illinois now surpassed its prior peak employment reached in September 2000 by 100 jobs, even with some sectors such as manufacturing remaining 297,800 jobs below their prior peak.
In February, the three industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were: Government (+8,300); Construction (+7,300); and Education and Health Services (+5,800). The largest payroll declines were in the following sectors: Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-2,900); and Professional and Business Services (-500).
Over-the-year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +47,000 jobs with the largest gains in these industry sectors in February: Education and Health Services (+15,300); Professional and Business Services (+12,100); and Government (+10,200). Industry sectors with the largest over-the-year declines include: Manufacturing (-7,400); and Other Services (-3,500). The +0.8 percent over-the-year gain in Illinois is half as strong as the +1.6 percent gain posted by the nation in February.
The state’s unemployment rate is higher than the national unemployment rate reported for February 2017, which decreased to 4.7 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.7 percentage points from a year ago when it was 6.1 percent. At 5.4 percent, the Illinois jobless rate stands at its lowest level since October 2007.
The number of unemployed workers decreased -5.9 percent from the prior month to 352,400, down -12.5 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force increased +0.1 percent over-the-month but declined by -0.6 percent in February over the prior year.