Statewide Unemployment Drops for Third Consecutive Month to 10.2 Percent

Contact: Sam Salustro | 312.550.1582 | Rebecca Cisco | 217.524.1219
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10/16/20 - The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate fell -0.8 percentage point to 10.2 percent, while nonfarm payrolls lost -12,000 jobs in September, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The August monthly change in payrolls was revised upward from the preliminary report, from +66,000 to +85,600 jobs. The August unemployment rate was unchanged from the preliminary report and held at 11.0 percent.

The September payroll jobs estimate and unemployment rate reflects activity for the week including the 12th. The BLS has published FAQs for the September payroll jobs and the unemployment rate.

The state’s unemployment rate was +2.3 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for September, which was 7.9 percent, down -0.5 percentage points from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was up +6.5 percentage points from a year ago when it was 3.7 percent.

In September, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were: Leisure and Hospitality (+9,300), Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+7,700), and Other Services (+3,800). The industry sectors that reported the largest payroll declines were: Professional and Business Services (-12,400), Government (-8,500) and Educational and Health Services (-7,300).

“We’re pleased to see the unemployment rate continue to steadily decline, and IDES remains committed to supporting and providing services to help safely return people back to work,” said Acting Director Kristin Richards. “The Department is focused on processing and paying unprecedented numbers of benefits to those who still impacted by this pandemic, while also remaining dedicated to making access to job training and employment services easier for those in need of those services.”

“As thousands of Illinoisans have returned to work in recent months, today’s report is a positive sign that Illinois is on the path to recovery amid extraordinarily challenging economic times,” said Erin Guthrie, Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). “Despite this progress, there is much more work to be done to ensure our hardest hit industries and workers can get back on their feet. That’s why, under Governor Pritzker’s leadership, DCEO has taken bold and swift action in launching over $1 billion in emergency relief for businesses and communities to provide this much needed support. Our focus remains on stabilizing businesses, bringing more Illinoisans back to work and laying the groundwork for us to rebuild our Illinois economy.”

Compared to a year ago, nonfarm payroll employment decreased by -412,900 jobs, with losses across all major industries. The industry groups with the largest jobs decreases were: Leisure and Hospitality (-130,800), Professional and Business Services (-82,900) and Educational and Health Services (-46,600). Illinois nonfarm payrolls were down -6.8 percent over-the-year as compared to the nation’s -6.4 percent over-the-year decline in September.

The number of unemployed workers declined from the prior month, a -6.2 percent decrease to 652,100 but was up +171.4 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force was up +1.2 percent over-the-month and down -0.7 percent 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.

In May, Governor Pritzker launched Get Hired Illinois, a new one-stop-shop website to help connect job seekers with hiring employers in real time. The site features virtual job fairs, no-cost virtual training, and includes Illinois Job Link (IJL), the state’s largest job search engine, which recently showed 90,264 posted resumes with 61,927 available jobs.

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates


Illinois Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs – by Major Industry


  • 2015-2019 seasonally adjusted labor force data for Illinois, and all other states, have been revised as required by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The monthly historical revisions to state labor force estimates reflect new national benchmark controls, state working-age population controls, seasonal factors, as well as updated total nonfarm jobs and unemployment benefits claims inputs. Illinois labor force data were also smoothed to eliminate large monthly changes as a result of volatility in the monthly Census Population Survey (CPS) and national benchmarking. For these reasons, the comments and tables citing unemployment rates in previous news releases/materials may no longer be valid.
  • Monthly seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for Illinois and the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights Metropolitan Division are available here.
  • Monthly 2011-2019 seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment data for Illinois have been revised. To control for potential survey error, the estimates are benchmarked annually to universal counts derived primarily from unemployment insurance tax reports
  • Not seasonally adjusted jobs data with industry detail are available here. “Other Services” include activities in three broad categories: personal and laundry; repair and maintenance; and religious, grant making, civic and professional organizations. Seasonally adjusted data for subsectors within industries are not available.


About the Department of Employment Security
The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) provides vital employment services to Illinois workers, employers, and job seekers with resources including Job Fairs and Illinois Job Link, analyzes and disseminates actionable Labor Market Information, and administers the Unemployment Insurance Program. To see the full range of services provided by IDES, and for the latest news concerning the department, visit IDES.Illinois.gov.