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March jobless rate hits five-year low in Illinois

CHICAGO – The March unemployment rate fell to 8.4 percent, the lowest level since January 2009, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

The rate fell despite more people entering the labor force to look for work.

As expected, however, the unseasonably cold and snowy weather in March dampened initial estimates for new
hiring. Combined with continued job loss at the government level, the state recorded 3,200 fewer jobs than in February but 29,400 more than one year ago. The unemployment rate and job creation numbers can move independently of each other because they come from different surveys.

“Today’s drop in the unemployment rate highlights significant progress in our state,” IDES Director Jay
Rowell said. “Our monthly numbers will continue to show uneven but measurable progress. Consumer
confidence and its related spending remains a key driver of our economic growth, especially in
construction and manufacturing.”

Numbers from the independent Conference Board’s Help Wanted OnLine Survey show Illinois employers in March advertised for more than 195,000 jobs and 85 percent sought full-time employment. The board is a global business membership and research association. The numbers measure new, first-time online jobs and jobs reposted from the previous month on Internet job boards, corporate boards and smaller, niche websites.

Illinois employers added +257,000 private sector jobs since January 2010 when job growth returned following
nearly two years of consecutive monthly declines.

Leading sectors are Professional and Business Services (+119,900, +15.3 percent); Education and Health Services (+56,600, +6.9 percent); and Leisure and Hospitality (+40,200, +7.8 percent). Government (-26,500, -3.1 percent) continues to lead job loss.

In March 2014, the number of unemployed individuals fell -17,100 (-3.0 percent) to 551,900. Total
unemployed has fallen -201,600 (-26.8 percent) since January 2010 when the rate peaked at 11.4 percent.

Since January 2010, when compared to the previous month, Illinois recorded job growth in 35 months and
job loss in 15. The unemployment rate fell in 25 months, increased in nine and was unchanged in 16.

The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and seeking employment. A person who exhausts benefits, or is ineligible, still will be reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.
Historically, the national unemployment rate is lower than the state rate. The state rate has been lower
than the national rate only six times since January 2000. This includes periods of economic expansion and


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