Unemployment Rate Remains at Historical Low in October

CONTACT: Rebecca Cisco | 217.524.1219  PDF Version

11/15/19 - The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that nonfarm payrolls increased to a record high +1,900 jobs compared to last month, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at an historically low 3.9 percent in October, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The September monthly change in payrolls was revised from the preliminary report from +4,800 to +8,500 jobs.

The state’s unemployment rate is +0.3 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for October 2019, which was 3.6 percent and up +0.1 percentage point from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was down -0.3 percentage points from a year ago when it was 4.2 percent. 

Illinois payroll employment has shown variability since the beginning of the year, as have national payrolls. Average payroll employment in Illinois during the August to October three-month period, which provides a more stable measure of payroll employment change, was up +1,500 jobs compared to the July-September three-month period. The largest average gains were found in Government (+2,300), Other Services (+600), and Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (+500).

“Job growth remains strong in Illinois and this administration is committed to building on that foundation with policies that lift up working families,” said Deputy Governor Dan Hynes. “From raising the minimum wage for working people to passing the bipartisan capital plan that will create hundreds of thousands of jobs across the state, Governor Pritzker is taking bold action to build long term economic prosperity in Illinois.” 

“Since taking office, Governor Pritzker has been strengthening the foundation for continued, long-term job growth across the state,” said Erin Guthrie, Acting Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. “Illinois’ talented workforce is one of the state’s greatest assets and essential to a thriving business climate.”

Compared to a year ago, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +57,000 jobs with the largest gains in: Leisure and Hospitality (+17,500), Educational and Health Services (+15,500), and Government (+11,700). The industry sectors with the largest over-the-year declines were: Information (-3,400), Manufacturing (-1,900), and Construction (-1,600). Illinois nonfarm payrolls were up +0.9 percent over-the-year as compared to the nation’s +1.4 percent over-the-year gain in October. 

The number of unemployed workers decreased from the prior month, -1.9 percent to 251,000, a new record low, and was down -8.6 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force was nearly unchanged over-the-month but up +0.6 percentage points over-the-year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and seeking employment.

An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work. IDES maintains the state’s largest job search engine, IllinoisJoblink.com (IJL), to help connect jobseekers to employers who are hiring, which recently showed 60,796 posted resumes with 101,271 jobs available.

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates


Illinois Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs – by Major Industry