Illinois adds 12,400 jobs in February, statewide unemployment at 9.5 percent

Online Staff Report

CHICAGO — Illinois added 12,400 jobs in February, continuing a three-year pattern of job growth that has intensified in the past seven months.

Job growth has encouraged more people to look for work, especially those who gave up during the recession. Their re-entry into the labor force pushed the February unemployment rate in Illinois to 9.5 percent, according to preliminary data released March 21 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).

This is the counter-intuitive part of an economic recovery,” said IDES Director Jay Rowell. “If job creation is picking up, how can unemployment be picking up as well? Job growth gives workers who previously gave up their job search hope that they, too, will be hired. As such, they re-energize their work search, jump back into the labor force and push up the unemployment rate.”

Over the year, from February 2012 to February 2013, Illinois added 64,600 new private-sector jobs. Illinois added 231,200 private-sector jobs since January 2010, when job growth returned following nearly two years of consecutive monthly declines. Since, Illinois has recorded job growth in 28 of the past 38 months. Leading growth sectors are Professional and Business Services (plus 94,700); Education and Health Services (plus 53,700); and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (plus 45,500). Government has lost the most jobs since January 2010, down 25,500.

In February 2013, the number of unemployed individuals increased by 34,900 (plus 5.9 percent) to 629,400. Total unemployed has fallen 122,800 (16.3 percent) since early 2010 when the state unemployment rate peaked at 11.3 percent for the months of January and February.

Illinois businesses are hiring. More than 100,000 help-wanted ads are on, the IDES employment website that links job-seekers with employers. Keyword matching technology increases the likelihood of a successful new hire and compares favorably to private efforts that cost hundreds of dollars. No-cost HR recruitment services are available at the website and at (877) 342-7533.

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 8.5 percent in January and the Rockford metro area’s unemployment rate was 13 percent in January.

Posted March 21, 2013

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