CHICAGO–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, IllinoisJoblink.com (IJL), which recently showed 63,180 posted resumes with 190,226 jobs available.