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 every household."
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
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.
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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]