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Illinois Payroll Jobs Increase, Unemployment Rate Up Slightly in February

Announcement – Thursday, March 21, 2024

Contact: Rebecca Cisco  |  217-524-1219  |  PDF Version


SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate increased +0.1 percentage point to 4.8 percent, while nonfarm payrolls increased +23,100 in February, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and released by IDES.  The January revised unemployment rate was 4.7 percent, unchanged from the preliminary January unemployment rate.  The January monthly change in payrolls was revised from the preliminary report, from +1,700 to -900 jobs.  The February unemployment rate and payroll jobs estimate reflect activity for the week including the 12th.

In February, the industry sectors with the largest over-the-month job gains included: Government (+6,700), Construction (+6,200), and Leisure and Hospitality (+5,400).  The industry sectors with monthly payroll job declines included: Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-1,900), Manufacturing (-700), and Financial Activities (-600).

“Job growth throughout the state across industry sectors is a testament to the strength and stability of the diverse Illinois workforce,” said Deputy Governor Andy Manar.  “Continued statewide investment in workforce development is giving jobseekers and employers new tools and opportunities to thrive in the expanding state economy.”

“DCEO is consistently prioritizing the development and implementation of strategies and programs to bolster our state's workforce and local economies,” said DCEO Director Kristin Richards.  “As Illinois' payroll jobs continue to grow, DCEO is committed to building upon that momentum, while ensuring jobseekers have the tools, resources, and support they need to be successful.”

The state’s unemployment rate was +0.9 percentage point higher than the national unemployment rate reported for February.  The national unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in February, up +0.2 percentage point from the previous month.  The Illinois unemployment rate was up +0.5 percentage point from a year ago when it was 4.3 percent.

Compared to a year ago, nonfarm payroll jobs increased by +13,500 jobs, with gains across most major industries.  The industry groups with the largest jobs increases included: Government (+26,700), Educational and Health Services (+23,400), and Leisure and Hospitality (+10,300).  The industry groups with the largest jobs decreases included: Professional and Business Services (-37,700), Trade, Transportation and Utilities (-8,100), and Information (-7,700). In February, total nonfarm payrolls were up +0.2 percent over-the-year in Illinois and up +1.8 percent in the nation.

The number of unemployed workers was 308,900, up +1.1 percent from the prior month, and up +11.6 percent over the same month one year ago.  The labor force was almost unchanged (0.0 percent) over-the-month and up +1.1 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 58,380 posted resumes with 91,620 available jobs.

Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rates - See PDF

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

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, 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