News and Announcements - Article

December Jobs in Illinois Decrease -16,300 while Unemployment Rate Rises to 5.9

​Contact: Anjali Julka  |

CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that Illinois’ nonfarm payroll employment lost -16,300 jobs and the unemployment rate in December rose 0.2 percentage points to 5.9 percent, based on preliminary data released by the Department and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). According to IDES labor market analysts, Illinois’ average job growth since the employment recovery began in January 2010 remains well below the national average, and employment will not recover from the 2007-2009 recession until September 2017.  The nation is currently 3.5 percent above its prior peak level of employment.

“For the first time since 2009, Illinois ended a year with fewer jobs than when we started,” said Jeff Mays, Director, IDES. “Even as the nation gained more than 2.6 million jobs in 2015, Illinois lost 3,000.”

IDES’ (IJL) program, which helps jobseekers connect with hiring companies, recently showed that 83,530 resumes were posted and 172,725 help-wanted ads were available.  The Department continues to conduct outreach through employer seminars and hiring fairs to better connect jobseekers to employers.  

The state’s unemployment rate is higher than the national unemployment rate reported for December, which held at 5.0 percent.  In December, the unemployment rate stood 0.3 percentage points below the unemployment rate a year ago when it was 6.2 percent.  The number of unemployed workers increased +4.9 percent from the prior month to 390,000 and was down -2.9 percent over the same month for the prior 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. 

The BLS revised down November nonfarm payroll employment data, which showed a decline (-6,500) in Illinois rather than the preliminary estimate of a slight gain (+400).  In December, the three industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were: Construction (+6,700); Manufacturing (+500); and Government (+300). The four industry sectors with the largest declines in employment were: Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-12,100); Professional and Business Services (-4,600); Educational and Health Services (-2,100) and Information (-2,100). 

Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment decreased by -3000 jobs with the largest gains in Education and Health Services (+6,200); Professional and Business Services (+5,400); and Construction (+5,100).  Several sectors posted over-the-year declines in December but the two largest were: Manufacturing (-14,000); and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-6,900).  

“Even as people return to the labor force, Illinois continues to lose jobs at a staggering rate, and statewide unemployment continues to creep up,” Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity Director Jim Schultz said. “We must make fundamental changes to our state’s business climate to promote growth and job creation if Illinois is going to become competitive and start sharing in the growth the rest of the country is enjoying.”

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates


 Illinois Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs – by Major Industry




  • ​Monthly ​1976-2014 labor force data for Illinois, and all other states, have been revised using new, fourth generation state time-series models, 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 control​s, 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, comments and tables citing unemployment rates in previous state news releases/materials might no longer be valid.
  • Monthly seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for Illinois and the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights Metropolitan Division are available at:​
  • Not seasonally adjusted jobs data with industry detail are available at  “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 connects employers and jobseekers, provides unemployment insurance to eligible individuals, produces labor market data and protects taxpayers from unemployment insurance fraud.  Visit the Department’s website at for more information and join IDES on Facebook​.