News and Announcements - Article

Illinois Jobs Up in October - Unemployment Rate Declines

​Contact: Bob Gough - Bob.Gough@illinois.gov  | 217-685-44545 mobile    
11-16-2017_Statewide.pdfPDF Version

11/16/17 (CHICAGO) – The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate dipped by 0.1 percentage points to 4.9 percent in October and nonfarm payrolls increased by +3,400 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. September job growth was revised up to show a smaller decline (-7,900 jobs) than initially reported (-10,800 jobs).

October’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 -2,300 jobs per month from August to October, while the six-month trend shows an increase of +1,900 average monthly job gains from May to October. Both the 3-month and the 6-month changes are better than reported last month.

“Month-to-month changes sometimes obscure important trends.” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “Illinois’ unemployment rate remained at 5.0 percent or lower for eight months – the last time that happened was in mid-2007.”

“The Department continues to see a steady flow of interest from businesses to relocate and grow in Illinois,” said Illinois Department of Commerce Director Sean McCarthy. “With our world-class assets, Illinois should be leading the pack not lagging behind the national average. We’re seeing results and winning projects, but we still have work to do.”

In October, the three industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were: Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+2,800); Education and Health Services (+2,200); and Manufacturing (+1,600). The three industry sectors with the largest payroll declines were: Government (-1,800); Construction (-1,100) and Information (-600). 

Over-the-year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +17,800 jobs with the largest gains in these industry sectors in October: Financial Activities (+14,300); Education and Health Services (+12,900); and Professional and Business Services (+5,600). The industry sectors with the largest over-the-year declines include: Government (-9,500); Construction (-3,500); and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-3,200). Illinois nonfarm payrolls were up +0.3 percent over-the-year in sharp contrast to the nation’s +1.4 percent over-the-year gain in October.

The state’s unemployment rate is +0.8 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for October 2017, which decreased to 4.1 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.9 percentage points from a year ago when it was 5.8 percent. At 4.9 percent, the Illinois jobless rate is -0.8 percentage points lower than January 2017. 

The number of unemployed workers dipped -1.4 percent from the prior month to 317,200, down -15.5 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 October 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), which recently showed 61,786 posted resumes with 173,277 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.