Illinois Payrolls Up for Sixth Straight Month

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Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.2%

CHICAGO, IL – The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent in July and nonfarm payrolls increased by +3,700 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The June job gain was revised down slightly from its initial report to show a smaller gain. (+17,200 jobs versus +18,100 jobs).

Job growth accelerated in the May to July period posting average monthly gains of +9,500 jobs over this three-month period, more than the 6-month average monthly gain of +8,200 jobs between February and July 2018.

“The state’s unemployment rate continued its downward trend in July and stands at its lowest point in 18 years,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “Illinois payroll employment also saw its largest over-the-year gain in more than two years.”

“The Illinois economy continues its comeback,” said Illinois Department of Commerce Director Sean McCarthy. “We are seeing what reduced red tape, a competitive economy, and investment in workforce and career pathways can do to promote growth and opportunity across the state.”

In July, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were: Manufacturing (+2,400); Leisure and Hospitality (+2,000); and Professional and Business Services (+1,900). The industry sector with the largest payroll decline was: Government (-1,700).

Over-the-year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +65,700 jobs with the largest gains in these industry sectors in July: Manufacturing (+14,800); Leisure and Hospitality (+13,100); and Government (+11,500). The industry sectors with the over-the-year declines were: Information Services (-3,600) and Mining (-100). Illinois nonfarm payrolls were up +1.1 percent over-the-year in sharp contrast to the nation’s +1.6 percent over-the-year gain in July. This was the fourth consecutive month with over-the-year payroll employment increases of more than 50,000 in Illinois.

The state’s unemployment rate is +0.3 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for July 2018, which fell to 3.9 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.8 percentage points from a year ago when it was 5.0 percent. The Illinois jobless rate last stood at 4.2 percent in February 2000.

The number of unemployed workers decreased -1.3 percent from the prior month to 272,200, down -15.5 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force was about unchanged over-the-month and 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 55,888 posted resumes with 204,916 jobs available.

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

Jul-18 Jun-18 Jul-17 3 month
Over the
Over the
Illinois 4.2% 4.3% 5.0% 4.2% -0.1 -0.8
U.S. 3.9% 4.0% 4.3% 3.9% -0.1 -0.4

Illinois Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs – by Major Industry

Industry Jul-18
Prior mnth**
Year Ago
Over the
Over the
Moving Avg
Change from
Moving Avg
IL – Total Nonfarm 6,128,900 6,125,200 6,063,200 3,700 65,700 6,120,700 9,500
IL – Mining 7,700 7,700 7,800 0 -100 7,700 100
IL – construction 227,700 226,000 220,400 1,700 7,300 226,600 800
IL – Manufacturing 591,000 588,600 576,200 2,400 14,800 589,000 1,000
IL – Trade, Transportation, and Utilities 1,214,500 1,214,000 1,210,100 500 4,400 1,215,800 -1,200
IL – Information 82,400 83,200 96,000 -800 -3,600 93,100 -600
IL – Financial Activities 399,200 399,000 391,600 200 7,600 399,200 200
IL – Professional and Business Services 947,200 945,300 943,200 1,900 4,000 944,400 2,500
IL – Educational and Health Services 929,400 930,700 922,800 -1,300 6,600 929,700 1,100
IL – Leisure and Hospitality 623,200 621,200 610,100 2,000 13,100 619,900 2,600
IL – Other Services 252,300 253,500 252,200 -1,200 100 252,600 300
IL – Government 844,300 846,000 832,800 -1,700 11,500 842,900 3,000


  • 1976-2017 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. In February 2018, the BLS also introduced a new seasonal adjustment procedure for state labor force estimates which resulted in the entire monthly historical series for Illinois and all other states being replaced. For all of 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 2013-2017 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. Effective with January 2018 estimates, the BLS introduced concurrent seasonal adjustment for monthly state nonfarm payroll employment estimates
  • 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.

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