Illinois Unemployment Rate Drops To 4.8% in January

Illinois Unemployment Rate Drops To 4.8% in January

The Illinois Department of Employment Security announced today (Monday, March 12) that the unemployment rate decreased by -0.1 percentage point to 4.8 percent in January and nonfarm payrolls increased by +200 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and released by IDES.

The Illinois jobless rate last stood at 4.8 percent in May 2007.

“This new peak employment milestone is a testament to the work that has been done to encourage competition, create jobs and reduce burdensome bureaucracy,” said Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Sean McCarthy.

“Just last week, our state was named in the top three for site selection and our strengths within identified industries, like manufacturing, are elevating our efforts to attract investment to Illinois. It has never been more clear to employers across the world that Illinois is open for business.”

In January, the three industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were: Leisure and Hospitality (+4,000); Education and Health Services (+1,700); and Financial Activities (+1,300). The three industry sectors with the largest payroll declines were: Trade, Transportation & Utilities (-2,100); Professional & Business Services (-1,800); and Construction (-1,100).

Still Trailing Nation

The state’s unemployment rate is +0.7 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for January 2018, which held at 4.1 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.4 percentage points from a year ago, when it was 5.2 percent.

The number of unemployed workers dipped -2.1 percent from the prior month to 311,500, down -8.5 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force decreased -0.1 percent over-the-month and also 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. To help connect jobseekers to employers who are hiring, IDES maintains the state’s largest job search engine,, which recently showed 63,832 posted resumes with 185,983 jobs available.

Payrolls At New High

The revised nonfarm payroll figures revealed that Illinois surpassed its prior business cycle peak from September 2000 level in June 2017. In January 2018, Illinois nonfarm payrolls are at a new high; 0.4 percent above the prior peak.

“Illinois job growth over the past year has been spurred by a resurgence in manufacturing.” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “Over the year, manufacturing payrolls accounted for close to half of the total increase of jobs in Illinois.”

Over-the-year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +47,100 jobs with the largest gains in these industry sectors in January: Manufacturing (+20,200); Leisure and Hospitality (+13,900); and Education and Health Services (+6,200). The industry sectors with the largest over-the-year declines include: Information Services (-3,400); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-3,300); and Other Services (-400).

Illinois nonfarm payrolls were up +0.8 percent over-the-year in sharp contrast to the nation’s +1.5 percent over-the-year gain in January.

  • Editor’s Note: The Kane County Jobs Committee’s mission is to connect Kane County residents with jobs and job training. If you have an upcoming job fair that might be of interest to the general public, please email a news release, link and photo(s) to

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