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Illinois Unemployment Increases

Posted on April 7, 2010

The Illinois unemployment rate increased slightly to 11.4 percent in February, up one-tenth from the January rate of 11.3 percent, according to data released today by the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

The rate was seasonally adjusted.

“Not surprisingly, the February figures continue to reflect fluctuation,” IDES Director Maureen O’Donnell said. “We are encouraged by the slowing pace of job loss but need a few more months of data before we can confidently assess the path this recovery intends to take.”

Illinois’ unemployment rate is at its highest level since July 1983. The three-month moving average, a more stable measure of labor market activity, also increased one-tenth to 11.2 percent, its highest level since September 1983.

The state continues to lead the nation, which had 9.7 percent unemployment in February. Still, the monthly increases appear to be slowing.

“The job losses are beginning to moderate,” said IDES spokesman Greg Rivara.

Illinois had about 5.6 million non-farm jobs in February, down 192,200 from the same month a year ago. Nearly every sector took a hit, except educational and health services, which showed a 14,900 gain from a year ago. Manufacturing jobs were down 55,300; professional and business services down 36,300; and construction down 35,400 since February 2009.

Last week, the agency reported that statewide unemployment had reached 12.2 percent, but the figures were not yet seasonally adjusted. That means the numbers need to be seasonally adjusted to reflect the so-called peaks and valleys of the season or the weather. That makes it possible to provide a fair comparison, Rivara said

There were -900 fewer jobs in Illinois in February. The three-month moving average of payroll employment, a broader view of job creation, was up +300. Job losses continued in the Construction sector. Job gains were reported in Educational and Health Services and Professional and Business Services. There were 758,100 unemployed people in Illinois in February.

The national unemployment rate in February was 9.7 percent. There were -36,000 fewer jobs in the country and the overall number of unemployed people was 14.9 million. Since the recession began in December 2007, the nation has lost 8.4 million jobs. Illinois has lost 403,600 jobs. Monthly labor force data is revised each February to meet U.S. Department of Labor requirements. Previous data, analysis and comments should be discarded because they might no longer be valid.

The unemployment rate is not the same measurement as those collecting unemployment benefits. The unemployment rate identifies those who are out of work and seeking employment, regardless if they are eligible for unemployment insurance. Workers collecting benefits are counted separately. Therefore, a person who exhausts or is ineligible for unemployment insurance still would be reflected in the unemployment rate if they are seeking employment.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security administers federally funded employment services and unemployment insurance through its nearly 60 offices, including the Illinois workNet Centers. IDES also receives federal grants to provide and analyze labor market statistics and information.

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