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Illinois payroll jobs up, unemployment rate down in May

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced on June 15, 2023, that the unemployment rate fell -0.1 percentage point to 4.1 percent, while nonfarm payrolls increased by +2,500 in May, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES.

The April monthly change in payrolls was revised from the preliminary report, from +8,500 to +8,800 jobs. The April revised unemployment rate was 4.2 percent, unchanged from the preliminary April unemployment rate. The May payroll jobs estimate and unemployment rate reflect activity for the week including the 12th.

In May, the industry sectors with the largest over-the-month job gains included: Government (+2,600), Financial Activities (+1,900), and Leisure and Hospitality (+1,400). The industry sectors with the largest monthly payroll job declines included: Construction (-2,400), Manufacturing (-1,700), and Information (-800).

“Today’s data is further evidence that Illinois continues to experience sustained economic stabilization and expanded job growth across industry sectors throughout the state,” said Deputy Governor Andy Manar. “The state’s commitment to investments in workforce and economic development, coupled with the resources provided by IDES, gives jobseekers more opportunities to participate in the labor force and gives employers the ability to expand their businesses with Illinois talent.”

“The falling unemployment rate and continued job growth across Illinois are evidence of a strong economy that continues to propel forward,” said DCEO Director Kristin Richards. “The state is fostering an environment for sustained economic progress by attracting job creators to the state and bolstering Illinois’ top-tier workforce, providing resources to jobseekers, and supporting working families throughout Illinois.”

The state’s unemployment rate was +0.4 percentage point higher than the national unemployment rate reported for May, the smallest difference since February 2020. The national unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in May, up +0.3 percentage point from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was down -0.3 percentage point from a year ago when it was at 4.4 percent.

Compared to a year ago, nonfarm payroll jobs increased by +120,300 jobs, with gains across most major industries. The industry groups with the largest jobs increases included: Educational and Health Services (+37,200), Leisure and Hospitality (+34,900) and Government (+30,300). Information (-4,100) and Professional and Business Services (-1,400) reported declines in payroll jobs. In May, total nonfarm payrolls were up +2.0 percent over-the-year in Illinois and up +2.7 percent in the nation.

The number of unemployed workers was 265,200, the lowest level since the onset of the pandemic. The number of unemployed was down -3.5 percent from the prior month, and -7.4 percent over the same month one year ago. The labor force was down -0.1 percent over-the-month and down -0.2 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 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 (IJL), the state’s largest job search engine, which recently showed 53,861 posted resumes with 110,158 available jobs.



  • Monthly 2018-2022 seasonally adjusted labor force data for Illinois, and all other states, have been revised as required by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The monthly historical revisions to state labor force estimates reflect new national benchmark controls, state working-age population controls, outlier specifications, seasonal factors, as well as updated total nonfarm jobs and unemployment benefits claims inputs. Illinois labor force data were also smoothed to eliminate large monthly changes as a result of volatility in the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) and national benchmarking. For these reasons, the comments and tables citing unemployment rates in previous news releases/materials may no longer be valid.
  • Monthly seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for Illinois and the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights Metropolitan Division are available here.
  • Monthly 1990-2022 seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment data for Illinois have been revised. To control for potential survey error, the estimates are benchmarked annually to universal counts derived primarily from unemployment insurance tax reports.
  • Not seasonally adjusted jobs data with industry detail are available here. “Other Services” include activities in three broad categories: personal and laundry; repair and maintenance; and religious, grant making, civic and professional organizations. Seasonally adjusted data for subsectors within industries are not available.

About the Department of Employment Security

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) provides vital employment services to Illinois workers, employers, and job seekers with resources including Job Fairs and, analyzes and disseminates actionable Labor Market Information, and administers the Unemployment Insurance Program. To see the full range of services provided by IDES, and for the latest news concerning the department, visit

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