Illinois Still Has Work To Do

The figures for January 2015, reported on Thursday, March 12 by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) (IDES website), show that Illinois’s jobless rate fell from 6.2% to 6.1% in January 2015. The same number was 8.2% in January 2014, down 2.1% over the 12-month period.

Soft spots in the statewide economic picture complicated the continued trend toward lower unemployment. Illinois employment – the number of Illinois residents with nonfarm payroll jobs – also dropped by 7,100 jobs in the same month. The declining employment and unemployment numbers reflected a stagnating Illinois population and the continued movement of many Illinois residents out of the labor force altogether. Movement out of the labor force is often correlated with a stagnant statewide economy, and with possible despair on the part of individuals of working age that they will be able to successfully find a job. “It’s clear Illinois has more work to do,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays (click here for more from Director Mays), “to catch up with other states.”

Specific sectors that showed strength in Illinois included leisure and hospitality (up 3,300 jobs) and educational and health services (up 2,300 jobs). Areas of weakness included manufacturing (down 2,100 jobs), construction (down 2,500 jobs), government (down 2,700 jobs), and professional and business services (down 5,500 jobs).