December unemployment unchanged in Illinois at 8.7 percent

Online Staff Report

CHICAGO — The December 2012 unemployment rate in Illinois was unchanged at 8.7 percent, according to preliminary data released Jan. 17 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).

One year ago, the December rate was 9.7 percent. Total payrolls decreased 7,600 in December 2012, nearly one-third of which were temporary layoffs with return-to-work dates in January 2013.

Illinois’ long-term trend is that of moderate growth punctuated by monthly up-and-down movement in the unemployment rate and the number of people working,” IDES Director Jay Rowell said. “This positive trend still is threatened by Congress and its continuing deliberations on the debt ceiling and the fiscal cliff.”

Illinois added 167,000 private-sector jobs since January 2010, when job growth returned following nearly two years of consecutive monthly declines. Leading growth sectors are Professional and Business Services (plus 79,500); Education and Health Services (plus 43,600); and Manufacturing (plus 39,800). Government has lost the most jobs since January 2010, down 30,700.

In December 2012, the number of unemployed individuals increased 1,700 (plus 0.3 percent) to 576,600. Total unemployed declined 176,200 (minus 23.4 percent) since January 2010, when the state unemployment rate peaked at 11.4 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. Historically, the national unemployment rate is lower than the state rate. The state rate has been lower than the national rate only six times since January 2000.

The nationwide unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in December.

Locally, the Rockford metropolitan area continued to have the highest unemployment rate of the state’s 12 metro areas in November with 10.5 percent unemployed. Metro area statistics for December 2012 will be released Friday, Jan. 25.

Posted Jan. 17, 2013

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