State adds 5,400 jobs in April, fourth straight month with growth

Unemployment still on the rise as more enter workforce

By Hillary Gowins 
Illinois Policy

Illinois gained 5,400 jobs on net in April, according to a preliminary jobs report released by the Illinois Department of Employment Security, or IDES. The modest gain was tempered by revisions to the previous month’s report, which showed 2,300 fewer jobs than initially indicated in March.

As in March, more and more people were looking for work in April, but too many were unable to find it. The state’s labor force continued to grow, adding 25,600 people to the workforce on the month. Of those who entered the workforce, 15,800 found work – 9,700 remained unemployed.

Illinois’ labor force has grown by more than 185,000 since January 2015, which marked the recession-era bottom for the size of the state’s labor force. For the past year Illinois has seen a growing workforce, which has contributed to a rising unemployment rate. This appears to be the inverse of what happened in 2014, when the unemployment rate fell, largely because of labor-force dropout.

And despite Illinois’ fourth consecutive month of jobs growth, the state’s unemployment rate rose again in April, to 6.6 percent from 6.5 percent in March. Illinois’ unemployment rate has been rising slowly but steadily for the past several months because job opportunities aren’t keeping up with the growing workforce.

Manufacturing gained 1,200 jobs in April, though it’s worth noting that IDES revised its manufacturing jobs data down by 400 jobs for March. The professional and business services sector showed the biggest gain of 7,600 jobs on net, while financial activities (-2,200) and other services (-2,300) showed the biggest losses.

Continued growth in Illinois’ workforce is good news, but that positive part of the report is tempered by a continuing lack of jobs to match more and more job seekers’ needs.

Important information from the April jobs report from IDES includes:

  • Illinois added 5,400 jobs on net in April.
  • Illinois’ unemployment rate increased to 6.6 percent in April, up from 6.5 percent in March.
  • Illinois still has fewer jobs than it did in September 2000.
  • Unemployment increased by 9,700 people in April, marking the ninth month in a row that Illinois has suffered a net increase in unemployed people.
  • The state’s labor force grew by 25,600 people, 15,800 of whom represented new employment.
  • The industries with the biggest job gains include:
    • Professional and business services, which added 7,600 jobs
    • Educational and health services, which added 2,600 jobs
    • Government, which added 1,400 jobs
    • Manufacturing, which added 1,200 jobs
  • The industries with the biggest job losses include:
    • Other services, with a loss of 2,300 jobs
    • Financial activities, with a loss of 2,200 jobs
    • Construction, with a loss of 1,400 jobs
    • Leisure and hospitality, with 1,400 jobs lost
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