State loses 2,500 jobs in May

By Hilary Gowins 
Illinois Policy

After four straight months of job gains, Illinois lost 2,500 jobs on net in May, according to a preliminary jobs report from the Illinois Department of Employment Security, or IDES.

Job gains wasn’t the only trend to change course in May. After months of growth in Illinois’ workforce, a net of 9,100 people stopped looking for work in May. Workforce dropout was the major driver behind a decrease in the state’s unemployment rate, which dropped to 6.4 percent from 6.6 percent in April. Illinois is still down 110,000 people working from its pre-recession jobs peak in November 2007.

Furthermore, Illinois’ manufacturing sector lost 1,100 jobs in May, putting the state down 2,200 manufacturing jobs in 2016. These continued manufacturing losses come after Illinois lost 6,200 factory jobs in 2015, which was by far the worst record of any state in the Midwest last year.

Fewer people looking for work is significant – for four months, Illinoisans seemed encouraged about job prospects. That seems to have changed in May. However, a change in confidence shouldn’t be surprising, given the state’s overall dysfunction. In light of politicians’ inability to pass a balanced budget or economic reforms for the second year in a row, workers aren’t the only ones losing faith in Illinois’ economy. Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings downgraded the state’s credit in May, the 16th and 17th credit downgrades against Illinois since 2009.

Important information from the May jobs report from IDES includes:

  • Illinois lost 2,500 jobs on net in May
  • Illinois’ unemployment rate decreased to 6.4 percent in May, down from 6.6 percent in April
  • Illinois still has fewer people working than it did in November 2007, before the recession began.
  • Unemployment decreased by 12,500 people in May, with 9,100 of that decrease attributable to workforce dropout
  • The state’s labor force decreased by 9,100 people
  • The industries with the biggest job gains include:
    • Financial activities: +1,600
    • Professional and business services: +1,600
    • Other services: +1,200
  • The industries with the biggest job losses include:
    • Educational and health services: -2,300
    • Government: -2,100
    • Manufacturing: -1,100

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