The 8.7 percent unemployment rate in January and February is the lowest since
February 2009, when it was 8.5 percent.
"February's job numbers shows that our economy continues to improve," said
IDES Director Jay Rowell. "The snapshot is another positive piece in the
long-term trend of economic growth building in Illinois. It also reminds us that
more is needed and expected because that economic success has yet to return to
January's preliminary job loss data already has been revised upward by the
Bureau of Labor Statistics. The new estimate, which could be further revised,
emphasizes the volatility of monthly data. That is why public and private
analysts prefer long-term trends when evaluating the strength of an economy.
Illinois added 257,400 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 121,000 jobs and 15.4
percent; education and health services, up 55,500 jobs and 6.7 percent; and
leisure and hospitality, up 36,800 jobs and 7.2 percent. The government sector
continues to lead job loss, with a decrease of 25,600 jobs, or 3 percent.
In February, large gains in professional and business services, up 10,400
jobs, and leisure and hospitality, up 4,000, more than offset declines in trade,
transportation and utilities, down 6,100. Most of this decline was at Chicago
area food stores.
In February, the number of unemployed individuals increased 1,900, or 0.3
percent, to 569,100. Total unemployed has fallen 184,400, or 24.5 percent, since
early 2010, when the state unemployment rate peaked at 11.4 percent in January.
[to top of second column]
Since January 2010, Illinois has recorded job growth in 35 months
and job loss in 14 when compared with the previous month. The
unemployment rate fell in 24 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 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.
For the following tables of statistics (PDF),
Illinois Department of
file received from the
Illinois Office of Communication and Information]