The Illinois Department of Employment Security announced Thursday (Sept. 19, 2019) that the unemployment rate was 4.0 percent in August, down 0.2 percentage point from the prior month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The August unemployment rate was the lowest monthly unemployment rate for the state on record.
The Illinois unemployment rate was down -0.2 percentage point from a year ago when it was 4.2 percent.
That said, the state’s unemployment rate is still 0.3 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for August 2019. The U.S. rate was 3.7 percent and unchanged from the previous month.
According to IDES, the Illinois payroll employment has shown “variability” since the beginning of the year, as have national payrolls.
Growth Over 3-Month Period
Average payroll employment growth in Illinois during the June to August three-month period — which provides a more stable measure of payroll employment change — was plus-2,500 jobs, with the largest gains in Educational and Health Services (+900), Government (+900) and Financial Activities (+700).
“We are pleased that Illinois’ unemployment rate is at its lowest level ever and will continue to focus on making sure that our economy works for everyone,” said Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes.
Hynes credited the jobs growth to the state’s raising of the minimum wage, a balanced the budget, and tax increases that allowed the state to invest in education and infrastructure.
In the IDES news release, Acting Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Erin Guthrie said major companies like Amazon and J-Power “have doubled down on their commitment to Illinois, creating hundreds of new earning opportunities for Illinoisans across the state and proving that Illinois is a top destination for businesses and workers alike.”
Education Jobs Up, Mining Down
Compared to a year ago, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 65,500 jobs with the largest gains in these industry sectors in August: Educational and Health Services (+17,900), Leisure and Hospitality (+14,300) and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+10,300).
The industry sectors with declines compared to last year were: Information (-4,000) and Mining (-500). Illinois nonfarm payrolls were up +1.1 percent over-the-year as compared to the nation’s +1.4 percent over-the-year gain in August.
The number of unemployed workers decreased from the prior month, down 3.7 percent to 262,500, a record low, and was down 4.0 percent over the same month for the prior year.
The labor force was up 0.1 percentage point over-the-month and 0.7 percentage point 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, IllinoisJoblink.com (IJL), which recently showed 60,592 posted resumes with 98,752 jobs available.