News and Announcements - Article

Illinois Jobs Decline in September - Unemployment Rate Unchanged

Contact: Bob Gough  | Bob.Gough@illinois.gov - 217-685-4454 mobile

Oct2017Statewide_news release.pdfPDF Version

10/19/17 - IDES announced today that the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.0 percent in September and nonfarm payrolls decreased by -10,800 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. August job growth was revised up to show a smaller decline (-2,600 jobs) than initially reported (-3,700 jobs).

September’s monthly payroll drop kept over-the-year job growth well below the national average. While Illinois job growth has had its ups and downs since the beginning of the year, the 3-month trend shows average declines of -4,200 jobs per month from July to September, while the six-month trend shows a -400 per month average job loss from April to September. Both the 3-month and the 6-month changes are worse than reported last month.

“The Illinois economy continues to sputter.” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “Moving one step forward and one step backward, as we have done this past number of months, does little to build the positive jobs momentum that most other states have built during this recovery.”

“Illinois stands apart in terms of the assets and opportunities we have to offer business across industries,” said Illinois Department of Commerce Director Sean McCarthy. “We must continue to market our exceptional assets while implementing reforms that boost our economy and make us competitive on a national stage.”

In September, the two industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were: Financial Activities (+3,600) and Manufacturing (+1,100). The three industry sectors with the largest payroll declines were: Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (-4,200); Education and Health Services (-3,400); and Leisure and Hospitality (-3,300). 

Over-the-year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +3,700 jobs with the largest gains in these industry sectors in September: Financial Activities (+12,000); Education and Health Services (+9,600); and Professional and Business Services (+8,000). The industry sectors with the largest over-the-year declines include: Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-10,700); Government (-7,100); and Construction (-5,800). Illinois nonfarm payrolls were up +0.1 percent over-the-year in sharp contrast to the nation’s +1.2 percent over-the-year gain in September.

The state’s unemployment rate is +0.8 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for September 2017, which decreased to 4.2 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.8 percentage points from a year ago when it was 5.8 percent. At 5.0 percent, the Illinois jobless rate is -0.7 percentage points lower than January 2017. 

The number of unemployed workers dipped -0.4 percent from the prior month to 321,700, down -14.5 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force remained about unchanged over-the-month and declined by -1.3 percent in September 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 IllinoisJoblink.com (IJL). IJL recently showed 62,795 posted resumes with 179,994 jobs available.


Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

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Illinois Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs – by Major Industry

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  • 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 for more information. You can also follow IDES on Twitter and Facebook.

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