CHICAGO–The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate was 4.3 percent in February, unchanged since November 2018, and nonfarm payrolls decreased by -12,600 jobs over-the-month based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. January jobs gain was revised upward from the preliminary report (from +24,400 to +26,700 jobs).

Average payroll employment growth during the December to February three-month period was +7,200 jobs, with the largest gains in Trade, Transportation and Utilities, Professional and Business Services and Leisure and Hospitality.

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“The administration is committed to putting Illinois on firm fiscal footing and growing the economy statewide,” said Deputy Governor Dan Hynes. “We are focused on making the investments we need to lift up the middle class, create jobs, and attract businesses to Illinois to create the long-term growth we need.”

“Governor Pritzker is beginning to implement a long-term strategy to actively tout and sell Illinois as a business and jobs leader,” said Erin Guthrie, Acting Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. “Investing in Workforce Development and Job Training are keys to sustaining growth and maintaining stability.”

In February, the two industry sectors with over-the-month gains in employment were: Professional and Business Services (+3,800) and Government (+100). The industry sectors with the largest payroll declines were: Construction (-5,300), Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-4,400) and Leisure and Hospitality (-4,200).

Over-the-year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +59,100 jobs with the largest gains in these industry sectors in February: Education and Health Services (+13,800), Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+12,100) and Professional and Business Services (+11,400). The industry sectors with over-the-year declines were: Information (-2,300) and Construction (-300). There was no change in Mining sector jobs. Illinois nonfarm payrolls were up +1.0 percent over-the-year as compared to the nation’s +1.7 percent over-the-year gain in February.

The state’s unemployment rate is +0.5 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for February 2019, which fell to 3.8 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.1 percentage points from a year ago when it was 4.4 percent.

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The number of unemployed workers was up slightly from the prior month, +0.3 percent to 281,300, but down -0.8 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.

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 61,681 posted resumes with 97,688 jobs available.

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

Illinois Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs – by Major Industry

• 2014-2018 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 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 1990-2018 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 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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