Wednesday, March 25, 2009
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Illinois Feb. unemployment hits 8.6%

Largest monthly increase in 33 years

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[March 25, 2009]  CHICAGO -- Illinois payroll employment declined by 37,200 jobs in February, the second-largest over-the-month decrease on record (back to 1990), according to data released by the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Over the year, Illinois employers have reduced payrolls by 206,300 jobs. The seasonally adjusted Illinois unemployment rate was 8.6 percent in February, up 0.8 points from the revised January rate of 7.8 percent. The over-the-month increase was the largest on record (back to 1976), and the rate hit its highest level since December 1991. The number of unemployed in the state (570,100) continued its climb, reaching its highest level since November 1983.

"A national and local effort is needed to lift our country and our state from the depths of this recession," said Maureen O'Donnell, director of the Illinois Department of Employment Security. "Nationally, we are beginning to see the fruits of the stimulus package. Locally, a capital program would put Illinoisans back to work and inject money into our economy."

National payroll employment in February fell for the 14th consecutive month (-651,000), bringing total national job losses to 4.4 million since the recession began in December 2007. The nation's unemployment rate climbed to a 25-year high of 8.1 percent in February, and the total number of unemployed swelled to 12.5 million.

In Illinois, the manufacturing industry lost 16,400 jobs in February, its largest over-the-month decrease since January 1992. Over the year, employment in this sector has dropped by 52,000 jobs, almost 8 percent of its total work force. Employment in the professional and business services sector experienced its second decline in excess of 10,000 in the last four months, retreating by 12,300 jobs in February.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security administers federally funded employment services and unemployment insurance through its nearly 60 offices, including the Illinois workNet Centers. IDES also receives federal grants to provide and analyze labor market statistics and information.

Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates


February 2009

January 2009

February 2008









* Revised


[Text from Illinois Department of Employment Security file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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