Unemployment Numbers Remain Steady

CHICAGO – The October unemployment rate in Illinois remained steady at 6.6 percent, unchanged from September, and down from 9.1 percent one year ago, according to preliminary data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

Private employers added +900 jobs in October, but government job cuts meant -2,000 fewer payroll positions than in September. Illinois employers still reported +39,400 more jobs than on year ago. The labor force grew by +31,800 in October, increasing the number of people working or looking for work to 6,531,100, the highest level since November 2008. The number of unemployed was 429,000, down -324,500 since Jan. 2010.

“After months of strong growth, private-sector job growth slowed somewhat, but it was a decline in government employment that led to October's decline in jobs,” IDES Director Jay Rowell said. “Private employers have advertised for 200,000 openings each month and 85 percent of the positions seek full-time employment.”

October job growth was led by Education and Health Care (+4,600) and Manufacturing (+900). These gains were offset by declines in Government Services (-2,900), Information Services (-1,500) and Financial Activities (-1,400).

Employers added +296,800 private sector jobs since job creation returned to Illinois in February 2010. Leading sectors are Professional and Business Services (+125,000); Education and Health Services (+66,700); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+52,200); and Leisure and Hospitality (+35,700). Government remains the job-loss leader, shedding -24,900 positions during the same period.

Other economic indicators continue to show labor market improvement. First-time jobless claims have been trending lower for the past four years and in October the number of monthly claims was at its lowest level since 1999. Numbers from the independent Conference Board's Help Wanted OnLine Index show that Illinois employers in October advertised for nearly 212,000 jobs and 85 percent sought full-time work.

Current Conditions