Latest unemployment rate in Illinois holds steady at 6 percent

From Illinois Business Journal news services

CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Employment Security says nonfarm payroll employment shed 1,800 jobs, based on preliminary data released by the Department and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Reflecting on new numbers, the agency said Illinois’ unemployment rate in March held steady at 6.0 percent. The state’s unemployment rate is slightly higher than the national unemployment rate reported for March, which also was unchanged from the prior month at 5.5 percent.

In March, a few industry sectors posted gains in employment and the two largest were: Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+4,200), and Construction (+3,600). Three industry sectors with the largest declines in employment were Leisure and Hospitality (-4,900); Financial Activities (-2,400); and Other Services (-1,900).

“Illinois continues to see more sluggish job growth than the nation as a whole and we are a continued laggard with our fellow midwestern states,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “We absolutely have to turn this around.”

Over the year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +71,600 jobs with the largest gains in Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+20,000); Professional and Business Services (+19,200); and Construction (+16,600). Two key sectors posted over-the-year declines in March: Financial Activities (-2,900); and Manufacturing (-2,300).

In March, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.0 percent and stood 1.7 percentage points below the unemployment rate a year ago when it was 7.7 percent. The number of unemployed workers remained virtually unchanged from the prior month at 391,200 and is down -22.2 percent over the same month for the prior year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and seeking employment. A person who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits will still be reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.

“Compared to the rest of the country, Illinois families and businesses continue to suffer from a business climate that has stifled growth and job creation in our state for years,” said Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Jim Schultz.

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