IL Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.8 Percent in March – 14th Consecutive Month the Rate has Improved

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–April 14, 2011.  The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell for the 14th consecutive month, dropping -0.1 to 8.8 percent in March, according to preliminary data released today by the Illinois Department of Employment Security. This is the lowest unemployment rate reported since February 2009 when it was 8.6 percent. The national rate also fell -0.1 to 8.8 percent in March.  The Illinois rate has been equal to or below the U.S. rate for six consecutive months.

“The Illinois labor market continues to demonstrate solid signs of a jobs recovery. Not since December 1994 has our state recorded such consistent declines in the unemployment rate,” IDES Director Maureen O’Donnell said. “Even though slight up-and-down movement in job creation and unemployment remain possible in this stage of the recovery, the long-term data show Illinois is moving in a positive direction.”

The seasonally adjusted payroll employment estimate for March increased +1,700. The three-month moving average of payroll employment gain of +15,400 for January through March is more indicative of the current job market. The three-month context better depicts trends in the labor market as evidenced by improvements in other measures such as increasing on-line job advertising and falling initial unemployment claims. Additionally, federal changes in data estimation beginning in March might cause larger fluctuations in monthly payroll estimates.

Since January 2010 when Illinois employment resumed after the national recession, Illinois has added +89,500 new jobs. Leading sectors are Professional and Business Services (+38,900); Educational and Health Services (+24,800); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+21,800); and Manufacturing (+9,900). That represents a 1.6 percent job growth, compared to the nation’s 1.2 percent.

In March, the number of unemployed individuals fell for the 14th consecutive month, dropping -6,200 (-1.1 percent) to 582,100, the lowest level since February 2009. Total unemployed has declined -158,000 (-21.3 percent) since January 2010 when the state unemployment rate peaked at 11.2 percent. The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and seeking employment. A person who exhausts benefits, or is ineligible, still will be reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work.

The IDES supports economic stability by administering unemployment benefits, collecting business contributions to fund those benefits, connecting employers with qualified job seekers, and providing economic information to assist career planning and economic development. It does so through nearly 60 offices, including Illinois workNet centers.

Source: illinois.gov