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State unemployment rate drops to 6.2 percent

CHICAGO – The Illinois unemployment rate decreased 0.2 percentage points to 6.2 percent in December.

Nonfarm payroll employment gained 17,100 jobs, according to preliminary data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

December job growth was led by Construction (+6,000); Educational and Health Services (+4,700); and Leisure and Hospitality (+4,500); gains were partly offset by declines in Government Services (-1,200) and Financial Activities (-900).

“The 0.9 percent gain in December over the year was significantly less than the national increase of 2.1 percent,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays, “indicating that Illinois employment growth remains lower than the national average.”

Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +51,600 jobs with the largest gains in Professional and Business Services (+25,700); Construction (+20,200); and Educational and Health Services (+12,700). Four sectors posted declines in December over the prior year: Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-8,700); Information Services (-2,400), Financial Activities (-1,400) and Government (-1,200).

In December, the unemployment rate decreased 0.2 percentage points from November to 6.2 percent and stood 2.7 percentage points below the unemployment rate a year ago when it was 8.9 percent. The number of unemployed workers decreased by 3.6 percent from the prior month to 405,700 and is down 30.1 percent over the same month for the prior year.

The Conference Board’s Help Wanted Online index revealed that 191,850 ads were posted online for the state of Illinois (not seasonally adjusted)

To apply for these jobs, go to, the state’s help wanted internet job board managed by IDES. features Resume Builder and Resunate. Resume Builder provides instructions to create a resume that is matched to existing help wanted ads seeking those skills.

Resunate scores the resume against a specific help wanted ad and offers suggestions on how to improve the resume before applying for the job. Resunate is free to anyone when accessed from an account, regardless of employment status or eligibility for unemployment insurance.

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.

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