Statewide Unemployment Rate Unchanged, Payroll Jobs Stable in April

Contact: Rebecca Cisco | 217.524.1219
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5/20/21 – The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate remained at 7.1 percent, while nonfarm payrolls were about unchanged, up +300 jobs, in April, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The March monthly change in payrolls was revised from the preliminary report, down from +32,300 to +28,900 jobs. The March preliminary unemployment rate was unchanged from the preliminary report, remaining at 7.1 percent.

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

In April, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were: Leisure and Hospitality (+8,100), Government (+4,300) and Construction (+4,000). The industry sectors that reported monthly payroll declines were: Manufacturing (-7,800), Professional and Business Services (-4,900), Educational and Health Services (-2,800) and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-2,800).

“As the state works through the bridge phase to a full reopening, IDES will continue to support claimants while also ensuring information is provided that supports both employers and jobseekers,” said Deputy Governor Dan Hynes. “IDES and the Pritzker administration look forward to working with the Biden administration and US DOL to identify and implement new strategies to reengage dislocated workers into the labor force.”

“Illinois is on the road to reopening, and last week’s move to bridge phase is set to reignite tourism, events and service industries – providing a much needed boost to key drivers of our economy,” said Sylvia Garcia, Acting Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. “Under Governor Pritzker’s leadership, we continue to make progress on advancing a safe reopening across Illinois. Through our continued work to boost vaccination rates, follow public health guidance, and extend additional relief for the businesses who need it, we are laying the groundwork for Illinois businesses to thrive and bring more residents back to work safely.”

The state’s unemployment rate was +1.0 percentage point higher than the national unemployment rate reported for April, which was 6.1 percent, up +0.1 percentage point from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was down -9.4 percentage points from a year ago when it was at 16.5 percent.

Compared to a year ago, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +408,400 jobs, with gains across most major industries. The industry groups with the largest jobs increases were: Leisure and Hospitality (+135,000), Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+107,800) and Professional and Business Services (+56,300). Illinois nonfarm payrolls were up +7.7 percent over-the-year as compared to the nation’s +10.9 percent over-the-year growth in April.

The number of unemployed workers rose slightly from the prior month, a +0.5 percent increase to 438,100, but was down -56.0 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force was up +0.3 percent over-the-month and +2.0 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 2020, 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 38,110 posted resumes with 119,634 available jobs.

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

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Illinois Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs – by Major Industry

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  • 1976-2020 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 Current 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 2016-2020 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.