(Chicago, IL) – March 4, 2011. The Illinois unemployment rate fell for the 12th consecutive month, dropping -0.2 to 9.0% in January, compared to 11.2% in January 2010, according to preliminary estimates released today by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
“Long-term trends of falling unemployment rates and rising job numbers continue and reflect a strengthening Illinois economy,” agency Director Maureen O’Donnell said. “As Illinois continues to push through the effects of the national recession, slight up-and-down movement in monthly estimates of unemployment rates and job growth is to be expected.”
The national January rate fell -0.4 to 9.0 percent. The Illinois rate has been equal to or below the national rate since October 2010. Illinois’ three-month moving average also fell -0.2 to 9.2 percent in January. The last time the state rate was below 9.0 percent was February 2009.
The seasonally adjusted payroll employment estimate for January increased +24,500 compared to the revised December level. However, January historically is a difficult month in which to capture employment data. Additionally, federal changes in data estimation have caused larger monthly fluctuations.
Thus, the three-month moving average of payroll employment gain of +6,700 net jobs in January is more indicative of the current job market. Below-trend seasonal hiring during the fourth quarter of 2010 produced overstated estimates of job loss in November and December.
Since January 2010, Illinois’ job growth has been led by the Professional and Business Services (+27,400); Educational and Health Services (+21,400); Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+15,400); and Manufacturing (+10,900).
In January, the number of unemployed individuals fell for the 12th consecutive month, dropping -14,000 (-2.3 percent) to 599,400, the lowest level since February 2009. Total unemployed has declined -140,700 (-19.0 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.