Statewide payroll jobs up significantly for second consecutive month; unemployment rate down in July

Illinois Department of Employment Security

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Department of Employment Security announced Thursday that the unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage point to 7.1 percent, while nonfarm payrolls increased 35,400 in July, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and released by IDES. The June monthly change in payrolls was revised from the preliminary report, from +12,500 to +26,100 jobs. The June unemployment rate was unchanged from the preliminary report, remaining at 7.2 percent.

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

In July, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were leisure and hospitality (+14,200), educational and health services (+7,100) and professional and business services (+4,200). The industry sectors reporting monthly payroll declines were financial activities (-1,700) and government (-300). 

“Today’s data is a positive step in the economic recovery of the state and representative of the resiliency of Illinois workers and businesses,” Senior Advisor Andy Manar said. “With federal unemployment programs ending in just under a month, IDES and the state will do what it takes to support workers and their families who need additional assistance as they recover from the pandemic and look to rejoin the workforce.”

“As thousands of Illinoisans return to jobs in key sectors, today’s report is welcome news and demonstrates that Illinois continues on the path to recovery,” said Sylvia Garcia, Acting Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). “Still, there is much more work to be done to ensure our hardest hit industries and workers can get back on their feet. 

“That’s why, under Governor Pritzker’s leadership, this week we launched the $250 million Back to Business economic recovery program, which will offer small businesses in the hardest hit industries and communities grants of $5,000 to $150,000 to help offset losses, bring back workers, and take continued steps to rebuild our economy.”  

The state’s unemployment rate was 1.7 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for July, which was 5.4 percent, down 0.5 percentage point from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was down 4.9 percentage points from a year ago when it was at 12.0 percent.

Compared to a year ago, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 231,100 jobs, with gains across most major industries. The industry groups with the largest jobs increases were leisure and hospitality (+71,500), professional and business services (+52,200) and trade, transportation and utilities (+33,300). The only industry group that reported jobs losses was financial activities (-3,800). In July, total nonfarm payrolls were up 4.2 percent over-the-year in Illinois and 5.2 percent the nation.

The number of unemployed workers was down from the prior month, a 1.3 percent decrease to 437,700, and was down 40.6 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force was up 0.4 percent over-the-month and up 1.0 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 Illinois Job Link (IJL), the state’s largest job search engine, which recently showed 41,102 posted resumes with 134,900 available jobs.

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