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Unemployment rate falls below 5 percent for first time in a decade

Thursday, Apr 20, 2017

* From IDES…

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate declined -0.5 percentage points to 4.9 percent in March and nonfarm payrolls decreased by -8,900 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data proved by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. February job growth was revised down to show an increase of +14,800 jobs rather than the preliminary estimate of +25,600 jobs. March’s monthly payroll gain kept over-the-year job growth well below the national average. The March drop coupled with February’s downward revised gain means that Illinois remains -19,600 jobs short of reaching its prior peak employment reached in September 2000.

“Illinois payrolls weakened in March, just like they did for the nation,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “The usual pattern is that Illinois weakens more than the nation but grows less than the national average when both are on the upswing. This persistent lag in job growth explains why it took 10 years to push the unemployment rate below 5 percent.”

“Our state has the potential to be the most competitive in the nation,” said Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity Director Sean McCarthy. “To expand opportunities and good paying jobs, we need to make common sense reforms that will give businesses the confidence to grow and thrive in Illinois.”

In March, the three industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were: Leisure and Hospitality (+4,200); Other Services (+1,300); and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+900). The largest payroll declines were in the following sectors: Construction (-7,100); Professional and Business Services (-3,600); and Government (-1,900).

Over-the-year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +25,500 jobs with the largest gains in these industry sectors in March: Education and Health Services (+15,900); Financial Activities (+8,900); and Leisure and Hospitality (+7,100). Industry sectors with the largest over-the-year declines include: Manufacturing (-6,500); Construction (-4,900); and Government (-3,800). The +0.4 percent over-the-year gain in Illinois is about one-third as strong as the +1.5 percent gain posted by the nation in March.

The state’s unemployment rate is +0.4 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for March 2017, which decreased to 4.5 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -1.2 percentage points from a year ago when it was 6.1 percent. At 4.9 percent, the Illinois jobless rate stands at its lowest level since June 2007, after having decreased for two consecutive months.

The number of unemployed workers decreased -8.4 percent from the prior month to 322,800, down -19.1 percent over the same month for the prior year. This brings the number of unemployed workers to its lowest level since May 2007.The labor force decreased -0.1 percent over-the-month and declined by -0.6 percent in March 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

19 Comments
  1. - Huh? - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 12:23 pm:

    So are we competitive enough yet to be compassionate?


  2. - RNUG - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 12:24 pm:

    Guess that’s why they can’t fill those vacant State jobs; everybody is already working!


  3. - Been There - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 12:26 pm:

    ===An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.====
    How do they know? I lost my job in Nov 2015 and received benefits. After they expired I never heard from them again. I am self employed now so they have no idea what I am up to now. Am I still one of the unemployed?


  4. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 12:30 pm:

    So is this bad news more proof that the state needs Rauner’s reforms, or is this good news that Rauner’s plan is working? I can’t quite tell.


  5. - Lucci - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 12:32 pm:

    Payroll jobs portion was bad. Household survey portion was pretty good.

    Biggest thing I see is that last month’s jobs # was revised down and this month was a loss. As a result, Illinois no longer has surpassed its peak jobs count from Sept 2000.

    Sept 2000: 6,054,900
    Feb 2017: 6,044,200
    March 2017: 6,035,300

    Still -19,600 since 2000. Last month we thought we’d surpassed that 2000 number.


  6. - Chairman McBroom - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 12:35 pm:

    “This brings the number of unemployed workers to its lowest level since May 2007.”

    Waiting for Illinois Working Together’s exhaustive press release with a healthy dose of finger-pointing and data manipulation. I won’t hold my breath.


  7. - Ducky LaMoore - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 12:41 pm:

    ===Guess that’s why they can’t fill those vacant State jobs; everybody is already working!===

    The badmouthing of working for the state has worked. Nobody wants to work for the state. And if they do, they look at what tier 1 gets vs tier 2 and don’t want to fund their parents retirement.


  8. - Ok - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 12:46 pm:

    This is a faulty report as usual. There still is no jobs to be found.


  9. - Lucci - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 12:49 pm:

    Also it’s worth noting that the unemployment rate is the lowest since June 2007, however Illinois has 116,500 fewer people working than in June 2007.

    A lot of working age people have left the state. We have the same unemployment rate as in 2007 with a smaller labor force and smaller number of people actually working.


  10. - A guy - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 12:52 pm:

    === I lost my job in Nov 2015 and received benefits. After they expired I never heard from them again. I am self employed now so they have no idea what I am up to now. Am I still one of the unemployed?===

    Are you filing a Illinois State income tax return? If you are, you are not “unemployed” to them. If you aren’t, you may be. They are indexing the number off of claims, so when you exhaust those benefits, you slip out of the official statistic category.

    Hope your new situation is working out for you.


  11. - Dublin - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 1:01 pm:

    ===Been There

    How do they know?===

    Haha! You think they don’t know what you’re doing? Funny!


  12. - Simple Simon - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 1:20 pm:

    See? Term limits and a balanced budget did the trick! Oh, wait…


  13. - Former IL Resident - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 1:21 pm:

    After watching the Board of Elections hearing on the Mautino matter today, I’m beginning to think that another state job will be opening up soon…


  14. - GOPgal - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 1:33 pm:

    Optimism on the rise across American, even in Illinois. Thank you President Trump.

    Thanks for nothing Gov. Rauner and all Illinois state officials of both parties.


  15. - Ok - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 2:00 pm:

    Fake news!


  16. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 2:13 pm:

    Those self-imposed Senate leadership term limits have really had an economic impact.


  17. - say what - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 2:16 pm:

    Someone needs to tell the governor that the salaries at ides are way above Right to Work wages (non-union ) .


  18. - Anon - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 3:37 pm:

    I want to rate them, but I can’t bring myself to watch. I’m confident I didn’t miss anything.


  19. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 20, 17 @ 4:19 pm:

    ==we need to make common sense reforms ==

    That line is in every single one of their releases. I’ve quit paying any attention to IDES because their credibility is shot when they put that kind of stuff in their releases.


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