Illinois unemployment rate continues downward trend, but do statistics tell a different story?

Kevin HoffmanReboot Illinois

Jul 17, 2014

News from the state’s jobs front shows the Illinois unemployment rate continued its four-month descent, according to preliminary data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).

June’s unemployment rate, which is seasonally adjusted, fell to 7.1 percent from 7.5 in May — the largest quarterly decline since records began in 1976 and lowest level since October 2008 when it was 7.0 percent.

Preliminary estimates indicate employers created 6,000 non-farm jobs, 800 of which were government positions. The construction industry accounted for most of the job growth, adding 3,500 as the summer construction season peaks. Other notable increases came from the financial activities and professional and business services industries, picking up 3,300 and 2,100 respectively.

Manufacturing lost 1,500 jobs in June, marking a seven-month losing streak and the most jobs lost of any industry from a year ago. Leisure and hospitality shed 3,700 — the largest amount this year.

Illinois unemployment rate

“Today’s numbers remind us that as our economy improves, more still needs to be done.” IDES Director Jay Rowell said in a press release. “We need to continue to create job-training opportunities for the unemployed and underemployed so they can share in our growing economy.”

However, this data does not include individuals who have dropped out of the labor force and gave up looking for work.

And, if you exclude all government jobs added this year, Illinois has lost roughly 18,100 private-sector jobs between December 2013 and June’s preliminary statistics (if you account for the finalized number of total private jobs during May).

Illinois unemployment remains well above the 6.1 percent national jobless rate and Illinois maintains the second-highest among our border states. Here’s how our neighbors fared in June:

  1. Iowa – 4.4 percent (up from 4.3)
  2. Indiana – 5.7 percent (unchanged)
  3. Missouri – 6.5 percent (down from 6.6)
  4. Wisconsin – 5.7 percent (unchanged)
  5. Kentucky – 7.4 (down from 7.7 percent)

More from the IDES press release:

The significant drop in the unemployment rate so far this year reflects Illinois’ historical role of following the nation into and out of economic cycles. This pattern generally is expected to continue until global demand lifts Illinois’ manufacturing sector, which in turn would help housing and the construction industry.

The unemployment rate also is in line with other economic indicators. First time jobless claims have been trending lower for the past four years and in June were 6 percent lower than one year ago. First time claims in June also were at the lowest monthly level since 2007. Numbers from the independent Conference Board’s Help Wanted OnLine Survey show Illinois employers in June advertised for more than 212,800 jobs (203,500 seasonally adjusted) and 86 percent sought full-time work


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