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Job growth remains below national average - July Unemployment Rate Increases Slightly

Contact: Bob Gough​ 217-685-4454 mobile​  
StatewideAug17-2017.pdfPDF Version

8/17/17 - The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate increased +0.1 percentage points to 4.8 percent in July and nonfarm payrolls increased by +2,100 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. June job growth was revised down to show an increase of +6,400 jobs rather than the preliminary estimate of +8,600 jobs.

July’s monthly payroll gain kept over-the-year job growth well below the national average. In the first seven months of 2017, payroll growth is growing twice as fast as 2016, but growing at half the pace of 2015 for the same seven-month period.

“The strong employment growth exhibited in the U.S. is not being felt in Illinois,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “Nonfarm payroll growth in the state remains anemic and labor force participation continues to decline.”

“The modest gains in Illinois continue to lag behind the rest of the nation,” said Illinois Department of Commerce Director Sean McCarthy. “We need reforms to provide business owners relief and incentives to make our state not only competitive, but attractive to bring good jobs back to Illinois.”

In July, the three industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were: Professional and Business Services (+6,200); Leisure and Hospitality (+4,000); and Other Services (+1,800). The largest payroll declines were in the following sectors: Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-3,700); Education and Health Services (-3,200); and Construction (-1,800).

Over-the-year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +33,200 jobs with the largest gains in these industry sectors in July: Professional and Business Services (+20,700); Leisure and Hospitality (+11,600); and Financial Activities (+9,500). Industry sectors with the largest over-the-year declines include: Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-10,700); Construction (-4,300); and Government (-2,300). The +0.7 percent over-the-year gain in Illinois is about one-half as strong as the +1.5 percent gain posted by the nation in July.

The state’s unemployment rate is +0.5 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for July 2017, which decreased to 4.3 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -1.0 percentage points from a year ago when it was 5.8 percent. At 4.8 percent, the Illinois jobless rate stands -0.9 percentage points lower than January 2017.

The number of unemployed workers increased +2.0 percent from the prior month to 308,200, down -18.6 percent over the same month for the prior year. This was the second consecutive over-the-month gain in the number of unemployed persons. The labor force decreased -0.4 percent over-the-month and declined by -1.2 percent in July over 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. 

To help connect jobseekers to employers who are hiring, IDES’ maintains the state’s largest job search engine (IJL). IJL recently showed 65,578 posted resumes with 177,457 jobs available.

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates
Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment RatesAugust172017.png

Illinois Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs – by Major Industry
Illinois Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm JobsAugust172017.png

  • ​Monthly 2012 - 2016 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, 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 here: Illinois & Chicago Metropolitan Area Unemployment Rates​
  • Monthly 1990 – 2016 unadjusted and seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll 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.