Illinois unemployment stable in February as payrolls increase

Unemployment held stable across the State of Illinois in February as nonfarm payrolls added another 10,700 new jobs, the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced last week.

According to IDES, unemployment was unchanged at 4.5% based on preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In February, the state’s industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment included: Government (+5,900), Leisure and Hospitality (+5,100), and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+2,700). The industry sectors with the largest monthly payroll declines included: Professional and Business Services (-3,000), Information (-3,000), and Construction (-1,100).

“Further gains in payroll jobs across industry sectors throughout the state continue to strengthen the Illinois labor market and positively fuel the state’s recovery,” Illinois Deputy Gov. Andy Manar said in the IDES’ news release. “As more jobs are added to the economy and more opportunities are created for Illinois workers, IDES remains a critical resource to job seekers looking for their next career and to employers looking to bolster their workforce with Illinois talent.”

Also in the unemployment release, IDES reported that the January monthly change in payrolls was revised from the preliminary report, from +14,300 to +12,300 jobs. The January revised unemployment rate was 4.5%, which was unchanged from the preliminary report.

The February payroll jobs estimate and unemployment rate reflect activity for the week including Feb. 12.

“Job growth across nearly all sectors reflects the strength of Illinois’ economy,” said Kristin Richards, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). “Looking ahead, DCEO remains committed to providing workforce resources for employers and workers – strengthening communities and our employment landscape.”

The state’s unemployment rate was +0.9 percentage point higher than the national unemployment rate of 3.6% in February. The national rate was up +0.2 percentage point from the previous month. Illinois’ unemployment rate also was down -0.1 percentage point from a year ago when it was at 4.6%.

Compared to a year ago, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +144,900 jobs, with gains across nearly all major industries. The largest job increases were in these sectors: Leisure and Hospitality (+43,900), Educational and Health Services (+38,800), and Government (+22,000). The Information sector was the only industry group to report a decline in payroll jobs, down -2,500 from a year ago. In January, total nonfarm payrolls were up +2.4% over-the-year in Illinois and up +2.9% in the nation.

The latest unemployment statistics for the Quad Cities region show unemployment decreased in January to 4.5%, down from 4.9% in January 2022. IDES announced the local unemployment statistics earlier this month. 

The number of unemployed workers in Illinois in February was 289,900, down 1.5% from the prior month, and down 3.8% over the same month one year ago. The labor force was up +0.1% over-the-month and down 0.2% over-the-year. 

The 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 are actively seeking work.

In May 2020, Gov. J.B.Pritzker launched Get Hired Illinois, a new one-stop-shop website to help connect job seekers with hiring employers in real time. The site features virtual job fairs, no-cost virtual training, and includes (IJL), the state’s largest job search engine, which recently showed 54,291 posted resumes with 122,245 available jobs.

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