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Illinois Payrolls at Record High in January - Unemployment Rate Holds Steady

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3/11/19 - The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate was 4.3 percent in January, unchanged from December, and nonfarm payrolls increased by +24,000 jobs over-the-month based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The December jobs gain was revised downward from the preliminary report (from +13,600 to +7,400 jobs).

Job growth was strong during the November to January period posting an average monthly change of +12,500 jobs, an improvement over the prior month when the three-month average change was +9,400 jobs.

The Illinois total jobs level has reached a new record mark each month since October 2018.

“We’re pleased to see strong job growth in January and look forward to building on this foundation in the months to come,” said Deputy Governor Dan Hynes. “Governor Pritzker’s budget proposal will restore fiscal stability to our state and bring much needed investments to our education system and workforce training that will build a thriving economy.”

“We are excited about the record high payrolls and anxious to continue fulfilling Governor Pritzker’s commitment to training the workforce of the future so that the unemployed and under-employed can find good-paying jobs,” said Erin Guthrie, Acting Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

In January, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were: Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+9,300), Construction (+5,800) and Manufacturing (+4,200). The industry sectors with payroll declines were: Other Services (-1,000) and Information (-300).

Over-the-year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +78,000 jobs with the largest gains in these industry sectors in January: Education and Health Services (+16,900), Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+15,400) and Leisure and Hospitality (+11,600). Information was down -2,000 jobs from the previous year and was the only industry sector to report an over-the-year decline. Illinois nonfarm payrolls were up +1.3 percent over-the-year as compared to the nation’s +1.9 percent over-the-year gain in January.

The state’s unemployment rate is +0.3 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for January 2019, which rose to 4.0 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.1 percentage points from a year ago when it was 4.4 percent.

The number of unemployed workers increased +1.4 percent from the prior month to 280,500 but down -2.7 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force was up slightly (+0.1 percent) over-the-month but down -0.1 percent over the 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), which recently showed 61,641 posted resumes with 95,196 jobs available.

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates


Illinois Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs – by Major Industry


  • 2014-2018 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. For 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 1990-2018 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.
  • 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.