Illinois unemployment down, jobs up in March 2021

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Unemployment rate at 7.1 percent in March

Information provided by the Illinois Department of Employment Security

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (April 16, 2021) – The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced the unemployment rate decreased -0.3 percentage point to 7.1 percent, while nonfarm payrolls were up +32,200 jobs in March, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The February monthly change in payrolls was revised from the preliminary report, rising from +21,100 to +37,300 jobs. The February unemployment rate was unchanged from the preliminary report, remaining at 7.4 percent.

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

In March, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were: Leisure and Hospitality (+13,700), Construction (+6,300) and Professional and Business Services (+6,300). The industry sectors that reported monthly payroll declines were: Government (-2,600), Financial Activities (-700) and Information (-200).

“Today’s data is a positive step in the right direction in restoring the workforce a year after the COVID-19 pandemic devastated state and national economies and left thousands jobless,” said Deputy Governor Dan Hynes.

The state’s unemployment rate was +1.1 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for March, which was 6.0 percent, down -0.2 percentage point from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was up +3.4 percentage points from a year ago when it was 3.7 percent.

Compared to a year ago, nonfarm payroll employment decreased by -360,700 jobs, with losses across all major industries. The industry groups with the largest jobs decreases were: Leisure and Hospitality (-145,300), Educational and Health Services (-54,300) and Government (-46,400). Illinois nonfarm payrolls were down -5.9 percent over-the-year as compared to the nation’s -4.5 percent over-the-year decline in March.

The number of unemployed workers fell from the prior month, a -4.0 percent decrease to 436,400, and was up +85.2 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force was down -0.1 percent over-the-month and down -3.4 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 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 40,360 posted resumes with 112,641 available jobs.

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