The Illinois Department of Employment Security has released preliminary economic numbers for the month of February. The data show that Illinois added 18,100 jobs on net in February, with significant gains in manufacturing, as well as the trade, transportation and utilities industry, and professional and business services. Importantly, February’s job growth allowed Illinois to finally regain the jobs lost during the Great Recession, which began in 2008.
Illinois’ unemployment rate increased to 6.4 percent in February, up from 6.3 percent in January. More Illinoisans entering the workforce was the primary driver of this hike. While more Illinoisans were employed in February, the state also had more unemployed people on net. February marks the seventh month in a row that Illinois has added people to the unemployment rolls.
“Today’s report shows many positives signs for Illinois’ economy. The state has been long overdue for significant jobs growth, as well as an increase in our state’s workforce and employment numbers. The data released today show Illinois beginning to move in the right direction on all of these fronts,” said Michael Lucci, vice president of policy at the Illinois Policy Institute. “Adding more than 18,000 jobs overall, and adding 3,500 jobs in important industries such as manufacturing, are encouraging signs. An expanding workforce and increasing numbers of employed people are also key signals that more residents are gaining the confidence to look for work and enter the state’s economy. However, having seven months of net increases in the number of unemployed people shows that, while Illinois’ economy growing, it is still unable to provide the necessary jobs for those seeking work.”