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Illinois Unemployment At Five-Year Low

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IDES Press Release

The Illinois unemployment rate hit a new five-year low in April when it fell to 7.9 percent, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security. 

More people working pushed the rate down 0.5 points, the lowest since December 2008 and largest monthly decline in the history of this data series which began in 1976.

“More people working is another sign that our economy is on the rebound,” IDES Director Jay Rowell said. “As Illinois’ economy continues to gain momentum, April’s numbers reflect more people getting back to work and more employers adapting to the new national economy.”

In April 2014, the number of unemployed individuals fell -35,700 (-6.5 percent) to 516,000. Total unemployed has fallen -237,500 (-31.5 percent) since January 2010 when the rate peaked at 11.4 percent.

The unemployment rate fell even though preliminary estimates indicate 7,800 fewer private sector jobs in April and 29,300 more jobs than one year ago. The unemployment rate and job creation numbers can move independently of each other because they come from different surveys.

The unemployment rate is in line with other economic touch points. First-time jobless claims have been trending lower for the past four years and at 48,697 in April are 20 percent lower than one year ago. 

Numbers from the independent Conference Board’s Help Wanted Online Survey show Illinois employers in April advertised for more than 200,000 jobs (201,500 seasonally adjusted) and 85 percent sought full-time employment.

Illinois employers added +249,600 private sector jobs since the low point of employment in Illinois. Leading sectors are Professional and Business Services (+114,600, +14.6 percent); Education and Health Services (+55,900, +6.8 percent); and Leisure and Hospitality (+38,000, +7.4 percent). Government (-25,600, -3.0 percent) continues to lead job loss.

The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and seeking employment. A person who exhausts benefits, or is ineligible, still will be reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.

Historically, the national unemployment rate is lower than the state rate. The state rate has been lower than the national rate only six times since January 2000. This includes periods of economic expansion and contraction.

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