CHICAGO – The Illinois unemployment rate fell in July for the fifth consecutive month to reach 6.8 percent while employers created 11,200 private-sector jobs, according to preliminary data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The data is seasonally adjusted.
The drop from 9.2 percent one year ago marks the largest year-over-year decline since 1984. The last time the rate was lower than 6.8 was in August 2008 when it was 6.7. There are +35,600 more jobs than one year ago.
“The falling unemployment rate seems to be picking up momentum with the warmer weather. That is encouraging even though we know there still is room for improvement,” IDES Director Jay Rowell said. “The unevenness in this recovery masks the very promising news of averaging more than 4,400 new jobs each month during the past four years. We need to build on that job growth so that we can help others.”
The unemployment rate also is in line with other economic indicators. First time jobless claims have been trending lower for the past four years and in July were about 17 percent lower than one year ago. Numbers from the independent Conference Board’s Help Wanted OnLine Index show Illinois employers in July advertised for nearly 204,000 jobs and 85 percent sought full-time work.
July job growth was led by Professional and Business Services (+5,900), Manufacturing (+3,900) and Construction (+1,900). Leisure and Hospitality (-3,800), Government (-900) and Information (-500) declined.
Employers added +263,100 private sector jobs since job creation returned to Illinois in February 2010. Leading sectors are Professional and Business Services (+115,000); Education and Health Services (+61,200); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+44,500); and Leisure and Hospitality (+31,100). Government continues to lead job loss (-23,000).
In July, the number of unemployed individuals fell -16,300 (-3.5 percent) to 445,400. Total unemployed has fallen -308,100 (-40.9 percent) since the rate peaked at 11.4 percent.
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 contraction.