Illinois takes another employment hit in August
Illinois lost 3,700 jobs and saw another increase in its unemployment rate in August, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) presented by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) in a recent press release.
“The Illinois economy is stuck in neutral with hardly any growth over the past several months,” IDES Director Jeff Mays said in the release. “As a result, this has caused the state to experience a rising unemployment rate over the past three months.”
The leisure and hospitality sector lost nearly 10,000 jobs, the professional and business services sector shed 3,300 jobs, and manufacturing lost 3,000 jobs, according to the data.
Gains in employment were primarily in the trade, transportation and utilities sector, which added 6,600 jobs; the education and health services sector, which added 3,400 jobs; and the construction sector, which added 2,000 jobs, according to the IDES release.
Illinois added an average of 1,100 jobs per month between June and August, while in the six months since March the state has lost an average of 100 jobs per month. The figures reveal the ups and downs that Illinois has gone through in 2017, according to the IDES.
On a year-over-year basis, the state has added 23,600 jobs, amounting to a 0.4 percent gain, a quarter of the national average. The sectors with the largest gains from this time last year are professional and business services, financial activities and education and health services, while the biggest losers are trade, transportation and utilities; government; and construction.
The Illinois unemployment rate is now at 5 percent, up 0.2 percentage points from the last report and putting the state's jobless rate 0.6 percentage points higher than the national rate, though the figure is 0.8 percentage points lower than in August 2016. The 5 percent rate is also a significant improvement for the year, which Illinois began with a 5.7 percent jobless rate.
The number of unemployed workers jumped by 323,100 between July and August, a 4.8 percent increase, but was down 14.2 percent from August 2016. The state is now in a three-month rut of increased unemployment. The labor force has also seen declines of 0.4 percent from July and 1.4 percent from August 2016.
Underscoring the losses in August, the IDES also revised preliminary data to show a gain of 600 jobs in July rather than the initial figure of 2,100.
The IDES highlighted its IllinoisJobLink.com (IJL) website, a search engine to help job seekers find employers with open positions and vice versa. With nearly 181,000 jobs available on the site and more than 64,000 resumes posted, IJL is the state’s largest job search vehicle.
Sean McCarthy, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, noted in the release that the state is working to attract more businesses by promoting its strengths.
“Illinois is working tirelessly to highlight our strongest assets – our strategic location and dedicated workforce – to bring more opportunity, competition and good paying jobs to our state,” McCarthy said in the release. “We need to couple that with lasting reforms and incentives to attract businesses and quality jobs in Illinois."