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Statewide Payroll Jobs Stable, Unemployment Rate Down in August

Announcement – Thursday, September 16, 2021

Contact: Rebecca Cisco | 217.524.1219
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The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate fell -0.1 percentage point to 7.0 percent, while nonfarm payrolls were mostly unchanged, increasing by +2,500, in August, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The July monthly change in payrolls was revised from the preliminary report, from +35,400 to +38,100 jobs. The July unemployment rate was unchanged from the preliminary report, remaining at 7.1 percent.

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

In August, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were:  Leisure and Hospitality (+5,800), Manufacturing (+3,900), and Government (+1,900).  The industry sectors that reported monthly payroll declines were: Educational and Health Services (-4,900), Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-2,300), and Other Services (-1,300).  

“The decreasing unemployment rate and continued job stabilization is encouraging in today’s report, especially as the state continues to monitor the increase of Covid-19 cases and the impact it may have on our communities, said Deputy Governor Andy Manar.  “IDES continues to assist those looking to return to the workforce, matching employers with jobseekers and providing other reemployment services and training to those seeking assistance.”

“While today’s report demonstrates an ongoing, positive trend, too many Illinoisans continue to endure challenging economic times,” said Sylvia Garcia, Acting Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).  “That’s why, under Governor Pritzker’s leadership, we are redoubling our commitment to small business recovery, capital and workforce training assistance programs that will help our hardest hit communities and businesses get back on track.  Together, these efforts will support our continued recovery, return more Illinoisans to work, and give our economy the boost it needs.”

The state’s unemployment rate was +1.8 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for August, which was 5.2 percent, down -0.2 percentage point from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was down -4.1 percentage points from a year ago when it was at 11.1 percent.

Compared to a year ago, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +163,700 jobs, with gains across most major industries. The industry groups with the largest jobs increases were:  Leisure and Hospitality (+59,100), Professional and Business Services (+45,300), and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+24,200).  The industry groups that reported  jobs losses were Financial Activities (-4,900) and Government (-1,700). In August, total nonfarm payrolls were up +2.9 percent over-the-year in Illinois and +4.3 percent the nation.

The number of unemployed workers was down from the prior month, a -0.4 percent decrease to 435,900, and was down -37.3 percent over the same month for one year ago. The labor force was up +0.2 percent over-the-month and was down -0.6 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 55,919 posted resumes with 144,405 available jobs.

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates

Illinois Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs – by Major Industry

  • 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