SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced that the unemployment rate fell -0.2 percentage point to 6.8 percent, while nonfarm payrolls increased by +9,300, in September, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The August monthly change in payrolls was revised from the preliminary report, from +2,500 to +7,400 jobs. The August unemployment rate was unchanged from the preliminary report, remaining at 7.0 percent.

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The September payroll jobs estimate and unemployment rate reflects activity for the week including the 12th. The BLS has published FAQs for the September payroll jobs and the unemployment rate.

In September, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were: Leisure and Hospitality (+5,500), Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+3,700) and Construction (+2,500). The industry sectors that reported the largest monthly payroll declines were: Manufacturing (-2,800), Financial Activities (-1,100) and Professional and Business Services (-200).

“As we continue to work through the recovery period of the pandemic, IDES is committed to helping Illinoisans find their next job opportunity,” said Deputy Governor Andy Manar. “IDES encourages employers looking for job seekers, and those looking to reenter the workforce, to take advantage of IllinoisJobLink.com and search for available jobs and jobseekers in their area.”

"As seen throughout the year, Illinois continues to make progress in bringing residents back to work, and stabilizing industries which have been severely impacted by the ongoing effects of the pandemic," said DCEO Acting Director Sylvia Garcia. "While we are proud of the progress we've made to increase employment levels from last year, we can’t take anything for granted. That is why, in addition to continued proactive health measures to beat the virus, our administration remains focused on investments that will support impacted businesses, expand workforce training and deploy capital investment to help gradually and safely restore our economy to pre-pandemic levels."

The state’s unemployment rate was +2.0 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for September, which was 4.8 percent, down -0.4 percentage point from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was down -3.6 percentage points from a year ago when it was at 10.4 percent.

Compared to a year ago, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +157,900 jobs, with gains across nearly all major industries. The industry groups with the largest jobs increases were: Leisure and Hospitality (+54,400), Professional and Business Services (+45,000), and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+26,200). Financial Activities (-7,900) was the only industry group that reported jobs losses. In September, total nonfarm payrolls were up +2.8 percent over-the-year in Illinois and +4.0 percent the nation.

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The number of unemployed workers was down from the prior month, a -3.3 percent decrease to 421,700, and was down -36.2 percent over the same month for one year ago. The labor force was up +0.1 percent over-the-month and was down -2.2 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 49,110 posted resumes with 153,716 available jobs.

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

Illinois Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs – by Major Industry

  • 1976-2020 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 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 2016-2020 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, grantmaking, 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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