News and Announcements - Article

Illinois Unemployment Rate Declines Fifth Month in a Row in May

Contact: Bob Gough | Bob.Gough@illinois.gov | 217-685-4454 mobile  June2018Statewide.pdfPDF Version

6/14/18 - The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate decreased by -0.1 percentage point to 4.3 percent in May and nonfarm payrolls increased by +8,600 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The April job gain was revised down slightly from its initial report to show a smaller gain. (+2,500 jobs versus +4,700 jobs).

Job growth stabilized in the March to May period posting average monthly gains of +4,600 jobs over this three-month period, about the same as the 6-month average monthly gain of +4,500 jobs between December 2017 to May 2018.

“Through the first five months of the year, jobs are growing faster than each of the past two years,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “More than half of the year-to-date gain of nearly 28,000 jobs is coming from those sectors with higher-than-average wages.”

“Since Governor Rauner took office, Illinois has added 192,700 jobs and the unemployment rate has fallen 1.7 points,” said Illinois Department of Commerce Director Sean McCarthy. “We’re seeing increases in job creation, retention, and investment due to the implementation of a pro-business climate. Our work certainly continues as we look to build upon these results to generate opportunity and success for all Illinoisans.”

In May, the three industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were Education and Health Services (+3,500); Government (+2,600); and Financial Activities (+2,100). The industry sectors with the largest payroll declines were: Information services (-900) and Leisure and Hospitality (-800). 

Over-the-year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +60,200 jobs with the largest gains in these industry sectors in May: Government (+13,800); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+11,100); and Financial Activities (+10,400). The industry sectors with the largest over-the-year declines were: Information Services (-3,900) and Mining (-300). Illinois nonfarm payrolls were up +1.0 percent over-the-year in sharp contrast to the nation’s +1.6 percent over-the-year gain in May, but it was the largest over-the-year gain in nearly a year.

The state’s unemployment rate is +0.5 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for May 2018, which dropped to 3.8 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.6 percentage points from a year ago when it was 4.9 percent. The Illinois jobless rate last stood at 4.3 percent in September 2006. 

The number of unemployed workers decreased -2.9 percent from the prior month to 278,800, down -12.2 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force was about unchanged over-the-month, but it was up +0.1 percent 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 55,668 posted resumes with 200,555 jobs available.


Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

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Illinois Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs – by Major Industry

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  • 1976-2017 seasonally adjusted 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. In February 2018, the BLS also introduced a new seasonal adjustment procedure for state labor force estimates which resulted in the entire monthly historical series for Illinois and all other states being replaced. For all of these reasons, the comments and tables citing unemployment rates in previous state news releases/materials may 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 2013-2017 seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment 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. Effective with January 2018 estimates, the BLS introduced concurrent seasonal adjustment for monthly state nonfarm payroll employment estimates 
  • 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.