LAUS_Characteristics

​​Characteristics of the Illinois Unemployed:  Tracking Differences in Unemployment Rates by Gender, Race and Age Group 

(November 2017)

Each month, the Illinois Department of Employment Security releases the latest unemployment rate for Illinois. But, unlike at the national level, there are no monthly Illinois unemployment rates reported by demographic characteristics, such as gender, race/ethnicity and age group. The national household survey, known as the Current Population Survey or CPS, is large enough to support the publication of reliable monthly national labor force characteristics but not the publication of monthly characteristics at the state or substate levels. Nonetheless, we can still track the current and historical unemployment rates among men, women, minorities and younger and older workers in Illinois, using 12-month moving average estimates from the CPS, developed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

We have highlighted below some key findings using 12-month moving average unemployment rates reported from 2007 through 2017. A report including the average unemployment rates shown in the charts below will be updated each month and found here. In addition, you can find a glossary of terms and concepts used in the CPS here.


 

Unemployment Rates by Gender

The chart below shows 12-month moving average unemployment rates for all working-age Illinois residents in the labor force and separately for men and women. 

Illinois Unemployment Rate, Total and by Gender (12-Month Averages)
Source: U.S. BLS, Current Population Survey​​

 

  • While both men and women experienced an increase in their unemployment rates following the 2007-2009 recession, men saw a larger gain, rising from a pre-recession level of 5.5 percent in 2007 to a peak unemployment rate of 12.0 percent in 2010. 
  • The unemployment rate for women increased from a pre-recession level of 4.4 percent in 2007 to as high as 9.3 percent in 2010.  
  • The unemployment rate for men remained above the female unemployment rate since throughout most of the past decade. The unemployment rate gender gap rose by nearly 3.0 points in 2010. However, starting in 2016, the unemployment rate for women steadily increased and converged with the male unemployment rate in 2017, resulting in a gender gap of just 0.1 or 0.2 point. 
  • By October 2017, the unemployment rate for women was slightly above pre-recession levels in 2007, while the male unemployment rate was at or below pre-recession levels. 

 

Unemployment Rates by Race, Ethnicity

The chart below shows 12-month moving average unemployment rates by race and ethnicity or Hispanic Origin. Unemployment rates for Asians were excluded from the chart as they are only reported annually at the state-level by the BLS.

 
Illinois Unemployment by Race and Ethnicity (12-Month Averages)

Source: U.S. BLS, Current Population Survey​

  • Throughout the past ten years, blacks or African-Americans have had the highest unemployment rate among all races and ethnicities, followed by Hispanics and then whites
  • The unemployment rate for African-Americans was already near or above 10.0 percent in 2007, just prior to the 2007-2009 recession, and nearly doubled to more than 19.0 percent by 2012.  By 2017, the African-American unemployment rate had fallen back to pre-recession levels.
  • The white unemployment rate rose from just above 4.0 percent in 2007 to as high as 9.7 percent in 2010. By 2017, the unemployment rate for whites had fallen to pre-recession levels. 
  • The Hispanic unemployment rate increased just above 5.0 percent in 2007 to as high as 14.1 percent in 2010.  By 2017, the Hispanic unemployment rate had fallen below pre-recession levels reported in 2007. 

 

Unemployment Rates by Age Group

The chart below shows 12-month moving average unemployment rates by age group. 

 
Illinois Unemployment by Age Group (12-Month Averages)

Source: U.S. BLS, Current Population Survey​

 
  • The youth unemployment rate (age 16-24) was the highest among all age groups during the past ten years. The rankings of the unemployment rates for the other age groups (ages 25-54, 55-64 and 65 and older), varied throughout the past decade. 
  • The youth unemployment rate increased from just under 9.0 percent in 2007 to 19.8 percent in 2010.  By 2017, the youth unemployment rate had fallen significantly but remained above 10.0 percent.
  • The prime working age group unemployment rate (ages 25-54) rose from about 4.0 percent in 2007 to 9.5 percent in 2010. The prime working age group unemployment rate recovered during the past seven years, falling to about 4.5 percent in 2017.
  • The unemployment rate for the older, pre-retirement age group (ages 55-64) increased from below 4.0 percent in 2007 to 9.2 percent in 2010 before dropping to just above 3.0 percent in 2017 (the lowest unemployment rate among all four age groups).
  • The unemployment rate for those 65 years and older rose from just above 2.0 percent in 2007 to 5.5 percent in 2010. By 2016, the age 65 and older unemployment rate had fallen to 3.0 percent. However, in 2017 the unemployment rate for those 65 and older climbed slightly to about 4.0 percent.