SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.7 percent, while nonfarm payrolls were almost unchanged, down by just -800 in December, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The November monthly change in payrolls was revised from the preliminary report, from +17,500 to +12,100 jobs. The November unemployment rate was unchanged from the preliminary report, remaining at 4.7 percent. The December payroll jobs estimate and unemployment rate reflect activity for the week including the 12th.

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In December, the industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment included: Educational and Health Services (+5,200), Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+3,300), and Government (+1,800). The industry sectors with the largest monthly payroll declines included: Professional and Business Services (-3,000), Leisure and Hospitality (-2,500), and Other Services (-2,100).

“As payroll and the unemployment rate remains steady throughout the state, Illinois is focused on continued job expansion and engaging jobseekers into the strengthening economy,” said Deputy Governor Andy Manar. “As they have done since the beginning of the recovery effort, IDES continues to assist workers, employers, and businesses with the resources they need to actively participate in the labor market.”

“Illinois’ stable employment market coupled with long-term improvements over the past two years serve as a testament to the State’s strong recovery efforts,”said DCEO Acting Director Kristin A. Richards. “Looking ahead, DCEO remains committed to creating a strong environment for job creators while supporting job seekers with training and support services.”

The state’s unemployment rate was +1.2 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for December, which was 3.5 percent, down -0.1 percentage point from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was down -0.4 percentage point from a year ago when it was at 5.1 percent.

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Compared to a year ago, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +161,000 jobs, with gains across nearly all major industries. The industry groups with the largest jobs increases included: Leisure and Hospitality (+42,900), Educational and Health Services (+30,300), and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+25,000). The Mining sector reported no change from a year ago. In December, total nonfarm payrolls were up +2.7 percent over-the-year in Illinois and up +3.0 percent in the nation.

The number of unemployed workers was 303,200, unchanged from the prior month, but was down -6.6 percent over the same month one year ago. The labor force was down slightly (-0.2 percent) over-the-month and up +1.2 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 2020, 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 IllinoisJobLink.com (IJL), the state’s largest job search engine, which recently showed 55,797 posted resumes with 126,713 available jobs.

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

Illinois Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs – by Major Industry

  • Monthly 2017-2021 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, outlier specifications, 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 Current 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 2017-2021 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 IllinoisJobLink.com, 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 IDES.Illinois.gov.

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