Illinois Unemployment Rate Dips in December

Illinois Unemployment Rate Dips in December

The Illinois Department of Employment Security announced Friday that the unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage point to 4.8 percent in December and nonfarm payrolls increased by +1,500 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

November jobs were revised up to show a slight gain (+3,100 jobs) rather than a slight loss as initially reported (-1,100 jobs).

That’s the good news. The bad news is December’s monthly payroll gain kept over-the-year job growth well below the national average.

While Illinois job growth has had its ups and downs since the beginning of the year, the three-month trend shows average gains of +4,700 jobs per month from October to December. This reflects an improvement over the three-month average gain of +1,500 from September to November.

“The unemployment rate dropped in December, even as the labor force increased in the final quarter of the year,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “Payrolls overall have now increased by about a half-percent over the year to date, which is an additional 29,600 jobs.”

“The fourth quarter trend is certainly promising,” said Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Sean McCarthy. “Illinois is beginning to see results from investments made in securing businesses by this administration.

In December, the three industry sectors with the largest gains in employment were: Government (+4,100); Other Services (+2,600); and Construction (+2,200). The three industry sectors with the largest payroll declines were: Professional and Business Services (-3,100); Financial Activities (-2,600) and Education and Health Services (-2,300).

Over The Year

Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +29,600 jobs with the largest gains in these industry sectors in December:

  • Financial Activities (+8,700);
  • Manufacturing (+7,700);
  • Education and Health Services (+6,600).

The industry sectors with the largest over-the-year declines include: Government (-4,100); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-2,900); Leisure and Hospitality (-1,400). Illinois nonfarm payrolls were up +0.5 percent over-the-year in sharp contrast to the nation’s +1.4 percent over-the-year gain in December.

The state’s unemployment rate is +0.7 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for December 2017, which held at 4.1 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.9 percentage points from a year ago when it was 5.7 percent. The Illinois jobless rate last stood at 4.8 percent in July.

The number of unemployed workers dipped -1.4 percent from the prior month to 309,200, down -17.1 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force increased 0.3 percent over-the-month and declined by -0.6 percent in December 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.

Looking For Work?

To help connect jobseekers to employers who are hiring, IDES’ maintains the state’s largest job search engine,, which recently showed 62,451 posted resumes with 160,023 jobs available.