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Illinois Payroll Jobs Increase to Record High, Unemployment Rate Up in September

Announcement – Thursday, October 19, 2023

Contact: Rebecca Cisco | 217.524.1219
Accessible Word Version

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate increased +0.3 percentage point to 4.4 percent, while nonfarm payrolls increased +9,500 in September to a record high and surpassing the pre-pandemic number of total nonfarm payrolls, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The August revised unemployment rate was 4.1 percent, unchanged from the preliminary August unemployment rate. The August monthly change in payrolls was revised from the preliminary report, from -100 to +3,800 jobs. The September unemployment rate and payroll jobs estimate reflect activity for the week including the 12th.

In September, the industry sectors with the largest over-the-month job gains included: Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+3,400), Manufacturing (+2,500), and Leisure and Hospitality (+2,100). The industry sectors with monthly payroll job declines included: Professional and Business Services (-2,200), Construction (-300), and Mining (-100).

“The Illinois labor market continues to benefit from significant, steady long-term job growth throughout the state, motivating and mobilizing jobseekers eager to reconnect with the workforce,” said Deputy Governor Andy Manar. “IDES and its local workforce partners are at the ready to provide workers and employers with the services they need to find their next career and fill open positions in this prime job market.”

“Momentum is growing in the labor market as Illinois’ payroll jobs reach a record high, demonstrating that Illinois businesses – supported by our world-class workforce – continue to create jobs and contribute to a positive economic trajectory,” said DCEO Director Kristin Richards. “DCEO will continue to invest in the state’s world-class workforce to ensure Illinois remains the best place to live, work and do business.”

The state’s unemployment rate was +0.6 percentage point higher than the national unemployment rate reported for September. The national unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in September, unchanged from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was down -0.2 percentage point from a year ago when it was at 4.6 percent.
Compared to a year ago, nonfarm payroll jobs increased by +79,400 jobs, with gains across most major industries. The industry groups with the largest jobs increases included: Educational and Health Services (+36,900), Government (+29,900), and Leisure and Hospitality (+27,300). Professional and Business Services (-20,300), Manufacturing (-7,200), and Information (-4,900) reported the largest declines in payroll jobs. In September, total nonfarm payrolls were up +1.3 percent over-the-year in Illinois and up +2.1 percent in the nation.

The number of unemployed workers was 282,500, up +6.1 percent from the prior month, and down -4.7 percent over the same month one year ago. The labor force was almost unchanged (0.0 percent) over-the-month and down -0.1 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 June 2020, Governor Pritzker launched Get Hired Illinois, a 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 (IJL), the state’s largest job search engine, which recently showed 53,689 posted resumes with 108,492 available jobs.

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates - See PDF -

Illinois Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Jobs – by Major Industry - See PDF -


  • Monthly 2018-2022 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, outlier specifications, 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 1990-2022 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, jobseekers, and employers with resources including Job Fairs,, and WorkShare IL, 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