CHICAGO–The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate rose to 4.3 percent in December and nonfarm payrolls increased by +13,600 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The November jobs gain was revised upward from the preliminary report (from +5,900 jobs to +8,000 jobs).

Job growth was stronger during the October to December period posting an average monthly change of +9,500 jobs, an improvement over the prior month when the three-month average change was +5,500 jobs.

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“It’s clear there is room to both grow the Illinois economy and create opportunity for working families,” said Deputy Governor Dan Hynes. “That’s why Governor Pritzker has taken action in his first days in office to protect and raise the wages of Illinois workers and strengthen workforce development training in growing industries. The governor looks forward to continuing to work with stakeholders, business leaders, and workers to create jobs statewide and ensure all of our communities can thrive.”

In December, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were: Government (+6,300), Leisure and Hospitality (+4,600) and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+2,800). The industry sectors with payroll declines were: Information (-1,000) Financial Activities (-700) and Construction (-600).

Over-the-year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +71,000 jobs with the largest gains in these industry sectors in December: Government (+24,700); Education and Health Services (+11,200) and Leisure and Hospitality (+10,200). The industry sectors with over-the-year declines were: Information (-3,900) and Other Services (-300). Illinois nonfarm payrolls were up +1.2 percent over-the-year as compared to the nation’s +1.8 percent over-the-year gain in December.

The state’s unemployment rate is +0.4 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for December 2018, which rose to 3.9 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.6 percentage points from a year ago when it was 4.9 percent.

The number of unemployed workers increased +1.3 percent from the prior month to 277,500 but down -12.2 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force was about unchanged over-the-month and over-the-year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and are seeking employment.

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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), which recently showed 59,527 posted resumes with 91,018 jobs available.

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

Illinois Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs – by Major Industry

• 1976-2017 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. In February 2018, the BLS also introduced a new seasonal adjustment procedure for state labor force estimates which resulted in the entire monthly historical series for Illinois and all other states being replaced. For all of these reasons, the comments and tables citing unemployment rates in previous state 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: Illinois & Chicago Metropolitan Area Unemployment Rates
• Monthly 2013-2017 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. Effective with January 2018 estimates, the BLS introduced concurrent seasonal adjustment for monthly state nonfarm payroll employment estimates
• 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

About IDES : IDES encourages employment by connecting employers to jobseekers, provides unemployment insurance benefits to eligible individuals, produces labor market data and protects taxpayers from unemployment insurance fraud. Visit the Department’s website at for more information. You can also follow IDES on Twitter and Facebook.

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