Unemployment rate down in Illinois, payroll jobs up in December

Illinois Department of Employment Security

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Employment Security announced that the unemployment rate fell 0.4 of a percentage point to 5.3 percent, while nonfarm payrolls increased by 22,800 in December, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and released by IDES.

The preliminary report for November monthly payrolls was revised from 19,500 to 19,900 jobs. The November unemployment rate was unchanged from the preliminary report, remaining at 5.7 percent.  

The December payroll jobs estimate and unemployment rate reflects activity for the week including the 12th. The BLS has published FAQs for the December payroll jobs and the unemployment rate.

In December, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were professional and business services (+9,400); trade, transportation and utilities (+8,500); and leisure and hospitality (+2,200). The industry sectors that reported monthly payroll declines were financial activities (-1,800), educational and health services (-300) and government (-100). 

“Today’s data reflects continued encouraging growth across Illinois’ economy,” Deputy Governor Andy Manar said in a press release. “Illinois will continue to take collaborative steps to strengthen our workforce and connect workers with employers across the state. IDES encourages job seekers and businesses to utilize tools such as IllinoisJobLink.com, Illinois’ free and accessible job board with more than 160,000 available jobs.”

“December payroll numbers are another positive sign for Illinois’ job growth reflecting an ongoing recovery in some of the industries most impacted by the pandemic, such as transportation and hospitality,” DCEO Acting Director Sylvia I. Garcia said. “The data shows that under Gov. Pritzker’s leadership, economic recovery efforts that include investments across Illinois in small businesses, workforce development, and capital development projects are working to bring back jobs.”

The state’s unemployment rate was 1.4 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for December, which was 3.9 percent, down 0.3 percentage point from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was down 2.7 percentage points from a year ago when it was at 8.0 percent.

Compared to a year ago, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 262,600 jobs, with gains across nearly all major industries. The industry groups with the largest jobs increases were leisure and hospitality (+126,000); trade, transportation and utilities (+48,300); and professional and business services (+28,600). Financial activities (-5,000) was the only industry group that reported jobs losses. In December, total nonfarm payrolls were up 4.7 percent over-the-year in Illinois and up 4.5 percent in the nation.

The number of unemployed workers was down from the prior month, a 6 percent decrease to 333,100, and was down 32.1 percent over the same month for one year ago. The labor force was up 0.5 percent over-the-month and up 2.0 percent over-the-year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and seeking employment. An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.

In May 2020, Governor Pritzker launched Get Hired Illinois, a new one-stop-shop website to help connect job seekers with hiring employers in real time. The site features virtual job fairs, no-cost virtual training, and includes IllinoisJobLink.com, the state’s largest job search engine, which recently showed 48,315 posted resumes with 161,281 available jobs.

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