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May Jobs in Illinois Increase +9,200; Job Growth Still Lagging Behind Other States

​Illinois Unemployment Rate Remains at 6 percent PDF Version​

CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that Illinois’ unemployment rate in May held steady at 6.0 percent.  The state’s unemployment rate is higher than the national unemployment rate reported for May, which inched up from the prior month to 5.5 percent.  Nonfarm payroll employment gained +9,200 jobs, based on preliminary data released by the Department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The BLS revised April data which showed a further increase in Illinois’ job gain from a preliminary +4,800 to +5,400.  Illinois has gained an average of 5,300 jobs per month since recovery from the 2008-09 recession while a majority of other states have seen a quicker recovery, per BLS data.  The number of jobs in Illinois will not reach pre-recession levels until approximately June 2016, according to IDES analysts’ estimations.

“Though 9,200 new jobs are good, this represents a job growth rate of less than 0.2 percent,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays.  “Illinois policymakers must continue to focus on improving our underlying business climate.”

In May, the three industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were: Professional and Business Services (+6,900), Leisure and Hospitality (+3,300) and Government (+2,300).  The three industry sectors with the largest declines in employment were Manufacturing (-2,500); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-2,300); and Financial Activities (-1,200).

Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +62,100 jobs with the largest gains in Professional and Business Services (+27,500); Education and Health Services (+14,800); and Construction (+13,700).  Two key sectors posted over-the-year declines in May: Manufacturing (-7,300) and Financial Activities (-5,300).

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.  IDES’ IllinoisJoblink.com (IJL) program, which helps jobseekers connect with hiring companies, recently showed that 168,271 help wanted ads were available and 59,192 resumes were posted.  Many positions however continue to remain unfilled.  The Department continues its efforts to help spur job growth in Illinois.

In May, the unemployment rate stood 1.1 percentage points below the unemployment rate a year ago when it was 7.1 percent.  The number of unemployed workers increased 0.3 percent from the prior month to 392,000 and was down -15.6 percent over the same month for the prior year.

“Illinois needs to take decisive action to address persistently low job growth through structural reforms to make Illinois competitive and attractive for business,” said Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director (DCEO) Jim Schultz. “Governor Rauner’s proposed reforms will create an environment in which Illinois businesses and families can thrive.”