May Unemployment Drops Slightly

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced Thursday that the unemployment rate declined -0.1 percentage points to 4.6 percent in May and nonfarm payrolls increased by +2,400 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. April job growth was revised little to show a decrease of -7,300 jobs rather than the preliminary estimate of -7,200 jobs.

May’s modest monthly payroll gain kept over-the-year job growth well below the national average. Payroll growth has been sluggish thus far this year.

“Illinois remains -23,300 jobs short of reaching its prior peak employment reached in September 2000,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “If Illinois had grown at the National average over that time, the State would have an additional 650,000 jobs.”

“We hear from companies every week that are concerned by the current business climate in Illinois,” said Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity Director Sean McCarthy. “We need to implement common sense reforms that would lead to booming job growth and expansion of opportunities across our state.”

The state’s unemployment rate is +0.3 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for May 2017, which decreased to 4.3 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -1.3 percentage points from a year ago when it was 5.9 percent. At 4.6 percent, the Illinois jobless rate stands at its lowest level since February 2007, after having decreased for four consecutive months and is down -1.1 percentage points since January 2017.

The number of unemployed workers decreased -2.9 percent from the prior month to 298,100, down -23.0 percent over the same month for the prior year. This brings the number of unemployed workers to its lowest level since December 2006. The labor force decreased -0.3 percent over-the-month and declined by -0.9 percent in May over the prior year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and are seeking employment. An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.

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