Illinois payroll jobs hit record high, surpass pre-pandemic level

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced Thursday, Oct. 19, that the unemployment rate rose +0.3 percentage point to 4.4% in September while nonfarm payrolls increased by 9,500 jobs over the month to a new record high.

In its monthly unemployment report, IDES said the state had 6,159,000 total nonfarm jobs – up from 6,149,500 in August. The number of nonfarm jobs also was up 79,400 over the year. 

IDES said last month’s payroll levels also surpassed the pre-pandemic number of total nonfarm payrolls, based on preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

As part of the report, IDES said the August revised unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1%. The September unemployment rate and payroll jobs estimate reflect activity for the week including Sept. 12.

In September, the industry sectors with the largest over-the-month job gains in Illinois included: Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+3,400); Manufacturing (+2,500); and Leisure and Hospitality (+2,100). These sectors showed monthly payroll job declines: Professional and Business Services (-2,200), Construction (-300), and Mining (-100).

“The Illinois labor market continues to benefit from significant, steady long-term job growth throughout the state, motivating and mobilizing jobseekers eager to reconnect with the workforce,” Deputy Gov. Andy Manar said in the unemployment news release. “IDES and its local workforce partners are at the ready to provide workers and employers with the services they need to find their next career and fill open positions in this prime job market.”

Kristin Richards, the director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, added: “Momentum is growing in the labor market as Illinois’ payroll jobs reach a record high, demonstrating that Illinois businesses – supported by our world-class workforce – continue to create jobs and contribute to a positive economic trajectory.” 

“DCEO will continue to invest in the state’s world-class workforce to ensure Illinois remains the best place to live, work and do business,” she added. 

According to IDES, Illinois’ unemployment rate was +0.6 percentage point higher than the national unemployment rate of 3.8%, reported for September, which was unchanged from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was down -0.2 percentage point from a year ago level of 4.6%.

The 79,400 jobs increase in nonfarm payrolls in September included large gains over the year in these industries: Educational and Health Services (+36,900); Government (+29,900); and Leisure and Hospitality (+27,300). The largest declines over the year were reported by: Professional and Business Services (-20,300), Manufacturing (-7,200), and Information (-4,900). 

The number of unemployed Illinois workers was 282,500, an increase of 6.1% from the prior month, and a decrease of 4.7% a year ago. The labor force was almost unchanged (0.0%) over-the-month and down -0.1% over-the-year. he unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and seeking employment. An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.

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