Thursday, April 24, 2014
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March unemployment hits five-year low

8.4 percent lowest since January 2009

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[April 24, 2014]  CHICAGO — The March unemployment rate fell to 8.4 percent, the lowest level since January 2009, according to data released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The rate fell despite more people entering the labor force to look for work.

As expected, however, the unseasonably cold and snowy weather in March dampened initial estimates for new hiring. Combined with continued job loss at the government level, the state recorded 3,200 fewer jobs than in February but 29,400 more than one year ago. The unemployment rate and job creation numbers can move independently of each other because they come from different surveys.

The drop in the unemployment rate "highlights significant progress in our state," said IDES Director Jay Rowell. "Our monthly numbers will continue to show uneven but measurable progress. Consumer confidence and its related spending remains a key driver of our economic growth, especially in construction and manufacturing."

Numbers from the independent Conference Board’s survey of help wanted ads online show that Illinois employers advertised in March for more than 195,000 positions, and 85 percent sought full-time employees. The board is a global business membership and research association. The numbers measure new, first-time jobs online and jobs reposted from the previous month on Internet job boards, corporate boards and smaller, niche websites.

Illinois employers added 257,000 private sector jobs since January 2010, when job growth returned following nearly two years of consecutive monthly declines. Leading sectors are professional and business services, up 119,900, or 15.3 percent; education and health services, up 56,600, 6.9 percent; and leisure and hospitality, up 40,200, 7.8 percent. Government continues to lead job loss, down 26,500 jobs, a decrease of 3.1 percent.

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In March 2014, the number of unemployed individuals fell 17,100, or 3.0 percent, to 551,900. Total unemployed has fallen 201,600, or 26.8 percent, since January 2010, when the rate peaked at 11.4 percent.

Since January 2010, when compared with the previous month, Illinois recorded job growth in 35 months and job loss in 15. The unemployment rate fell in 25 months, increased in nine and was unchanged in 16.

The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and seeking employment. Individuals who exhaust their benefits, or are ineligible, still will be reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work. Historically, the national unemployment rate is lower than the state rate. The state rate has been lower than the national rate only six times since January 2000. This includes periods of economic expansion and contraction.


To see tables listed below, click here (PDF):

  • Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

  • Illinois Seasonally Adjusted Non-farm Jobs – by Major Industry

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

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