By PETER HANCOCK
Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a percentage point in October to 6 percent as employers added 40,900 jobs during the month, the Illinois Department of Employment Security and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said.
According to the preliminary data, the industry sectors with the biggest job gains during the month were professional and business services, which added 17,700 jobs; leisure and hospitality, which added 8,400 jobs; and trade, transportation and utilities, which gained 7,700 jobs.
Those gains were partially offset by job losses in the information sector and educational and health services.
“Today’s data are positive markers indicating a continued recovery to our economy and labor market,” Deputy Gov. Andy Manar said in a statement. “IDES continues to work with employers and jobseekers to assist matching businesses with those looking to reenter the workforce or make career changes.”
Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Sylvia Garcia said the numbers showed that Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration’s economic recovery policies during the pandemic have had positive results.
“Monthly labor reports continue to prove that our administration’s investments to stimulate small businesses, deliver workforce development grants and jumpstart community and capital development projects across our state are paying dividends,” she said in a statement.
The October jobless rate in Illinois was 1.4 percentage points higher than the national rate, but it was 2.1 percentage points below where it was a year earlier.
Compared to a year ago, the number of nonfarm payroll jobs was up by 190,300, with gains showing up in nearly all major industries.
The leisure and hospitality sector, which was hit hardest by the pandemic, has added back 60,800 jobs while professional and business services have gained back 50,000 jobs. The trade, transportation and utilities sector has added 37,200.
Financial activities, which is still down by 5,200 jobs, was the only industry group that reported jobs losses over the year. Total nonfarm payrolls were up 3.4 percent over the year in Illinois and 4.1 percent in the nation.
Along with the October jobless figures, the Bureau of Labor Statistics made a significant downward adjustment to the September unemployment rate, lowering it to 6.2 percent from the preliminary estimate of 6.8 percent. That was due to an adjustment BLS had made in January to the way it estimates the size of a state’s labor force in order to account for the impact of the pandemic.
IDES said in a news release that the adjustment inadvertently created “distortions” to statewide labor force estimates for Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin for January and all subsequent months through September 2021.
BLS said the distortions were only recently identified after Illinois and another state in the agency’s East North Central Division raised concerns about their monthly 2021 labor force estimates. The BLS has found that distortions to the Illinois labor force estimates are limited to January-September 2021.
(Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government and distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.)