Illinois Unemployment Rate Matches Lowest on Record

Illinois Unemployment Rate Matches Lowest on Record

The Illinois Department of Employment Security announced this week that the unemployment rate fell to 4.1 percent in August.

Job growth moderated in the June to August period posting average monthly gains of 4,000 jobs over this three-month period, less than the prior three-month average monthly gain of 8,300 jobs between May and July 2018 — but the news is still good.

“Illinois’ unemployment rate stood at 4.1 percent in August, matching the lowest rate on record,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “Even with the over-the-month drop, nonfarm payrolls have surpassed the prior business cycle peak of September 2000. Jobs are still up more than 47,000 over the year, led by manufacturing.”

The numbers are based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and released by IDES.

Illinois Department of Commerce Director Sean McCarthy said the positive job growth over the last year indicates that efforts to improve the Illinois economy and actively recruit new investment are paying off.

“Illinois is seeing the best employment environment since 1999, demonstrating that companies can see the potential to grow in our state,” he said.

In August, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were: Professional and Business Services (+900); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+400); and Financial Activities (+400).

The industry sectors with the largest payroll declines were: Leisure and Hospitality (-3,600); Education and Health Services (-1,300); and Construction (-1,200).

Over-the-year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 47,500 jobs, with the largest gains in these industry sectors in August: Manufacturing (+11,300); Government (+10,500); and Financial Activities (+8,200).

The industry sectors with over-the-year declines were: Information Services (-3,200) and Other Services (-600). Illinois nonfarm payrolls were up +0.8 percent over-the-year in sharp contrast to the nation’s +1.6 percent over-the-year gain in August.

The state’s unemployment rate is 0.2 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for August 2018, which held at 3.9 percent.

The Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.9 percentage points from a year ago when it was 5.0 percent.

The Illinois jobless rate last stood at 4.1 percent in February 1999. The difference between the Illinois unemployment rate and the U.S. rate represents the smallest gap since December 2010.

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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