Payroll jobs rise in Illinois, unemployment rate drops in March

City says 7,000 summer jobs are available for Boston youth ages 14 to 18

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate fell -0.1 percentage point to 4.4 percent, while non-farm payrolls increased by +7,900 in March, based on preliminary data provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES.

The monthly change in payrolls for February has been revised from the initial report, from +10,700 to +8,100 jobs. The revised unemployment rate in February was 4.5 percent, unchanged from the preliminary unemployment rate in February. Estimates for the March Payrolls and Unemployment Rate reflect the week’s activity including the 12th week.

In March, the industry sectors with the biggest gains over the month in employment included: professional and business services (+3,000), leisure and hospitality (+3,000), and government (+1,600). The industrial sectors that saw the largest declines in monthly salaries included: manufacturing (1,400), trade, transportation and utilities (-500), and information (-300).

“Illinois continues to experience significant job growth across key industry sectors across the state, which strengthens the Illinois job market,” Deputy Governor Andy Manar said. “More jobs create more opportunities for Illinois workers, and IDES has the resources to connect job seekers with employers looking for diverse, experienced talent.”

“As more jobs are created and the unemployment rate continues to show signs of improvement, DCEO remains committed to providing businesses and employees with the tools to support and grow a strong Illinois workforce,” said DCEO Director Christine A. Richards. “The state’s continued increases in payroll jobs and decreases in unemployment are a testament to Illinois’ unparalleled workforce strength and positive economic growth.”

The state’s unemployment rate was 0.9 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate announced in March, which was 3.5 percent, down 0.1 percentage points from the previous month. The unemployment rate in Illinois is down to -0.1 percentage point from a year ago when it was at 4.5 percent.

Compared to last year, non-farm employment increased by +131,100 jobs, with gains across nearly all major industries. The industry groups that saw the largest increase in jobs included: leisure and hospitality (+43,200), education and health services (+36,600), and government (+23,200). Information was the only industry group to report a decline in payroll jobs, down 1,900 from last year. In March, total non-farm payrolls increased +2.2% over the year in Illinois and increased +2.7% in the country.

The number of unemployed was 283,800, down -2.1 percent from the previous month, and -3.6 percent from the same month a year earlier. The workforce remained almost unchanged (0.0%) over the month and decreased by -0.2% over the year. The unemployment rate determines those individuals who are unemployed and looking for work. An individual who is depleted or not entitled to benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if he or she is actively seeking employment.

In May 2020, the governor fired Pritzker Get Employed IllinoisAn integrated website to help connect job seekers with employers in real time. The site features virtual job fairs, free virtual training, and includes (IJL), the largest job search engine in the state, which recently showed 53,117 resumes posted with 120,199 positions available.

  • Seasonally adjusted 2018-2024 monthly labor force data for Illinois and all other states have been revised as required by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Monthly historical revisions to state labor force estimates reflect new national benchmark controls, controls for the state’s working-age population, outdoor specifics, and seasonal factors, as well as updated total non-farm payrolls and unemployment claims entries. Illinois labor force data has also been smoothed to remove large monthly changes due to fluctuations in the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) and national standards. For these reasons, comments and tables referring to unemployment rates in previous newsletters/materials may not be valid.
  • Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates are available monthly for Illinois and the Chicago Naperville Arlington Heights Metropolitan section. here.
  • Seasonally adjusted monthly non-farm payroll data from 1990 to 2024 for the state of Illinois. To control for potential survey error, estimates are scaled annually to aggregate counts derived primarily from unemployment insurance tax reports.
  • Seasonally unadjusted job data is available with industry details here. “Other Services” includes activities in three broad categories: personal and laundry; Repair and maintenance; Religious, grant-making, civic and professional organizations. Seasonally adjusted data for sub-sectors 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 that include Job fairs And IllinoisGoblink.comIt analyzes and publishes actionable Labor market informationand runs Unemployment insurance program. To see the full range of services offered by IDES, and to see the latest news related to the department, visit

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