Preliminary jobs report: Illinois gains 14,100 jobs in October – loses 1,900 manufacturing jobs

November 19, 2015

Early jobs numbers show mixed economic performance in IL

CHICAGO (Nov. 19, 2015) – Today, the Illinois Department of Employment Security released preliminary unemployment and economic performance data for the state for the month of October. Results from today’s report are generally positive but mixed, with the state gaining 14,100 jobs on net, but losing jobs in key industries such as manufacturing and business services. Education and health services, and Hospitality saw the biggest gains in jobs for the month. On Friday, Nov. 20, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics will release a complete economic profile for Illinois and neighboring states.

Recent announcements show new corporate jobs and headquarters moving to Chicago, however, today’s jobs report showed Illinois falling further behind in blue collar and manufacturing jobs – key industries for middle class economic growth.

“Illinois’ economic policies have created a state economy with sporadic growth for corporate and white collar jobs in the state, and a continued decline of blue collar job opportunities and low blue collar worker incomes,” said Michael Lucci, vice president of policy at the Illinois Policy Institute. “Today’s report shows many of the same trends that we have seen for months in Illinois, while some white-collar industries such as educational and health services have shown growth, Illinois’ manufacturing sector and blue collar jobs continue to move out of the state – many of them going to neighboring states such as Indiana, Michigan and Kentucky.”

Highlights from today’s report and Illinois economic info include:

  • Illinois gained a total of 14,100 jobs in October.
  • Illinois’ manufacturing sector lost 1,900 jobs in October and has dropped by 14,100 jobs since the beginning of 2015. By comparison, the number of white collar jobs in business services has increased by 13,900 since the beginning of the year. This shows a growing disparity between white collar and blue collar opportunities in the state.
  • Illinois’ unemployment rate stayed at 5.4 percent for the month of October. The state’s workforce grew by 19,700.
  • According to BLS data, the bottom quarter of Illinois workers have the lowest wages in the entire Midwest. Adjusted for cost of living, a worker in the 25th percentile of wages in Illinois makes only $22,713 lower than any state in the region.
  • Illinois has the same number of payroll jobs today as in 1998, meaning the state has suffered stagnant job growth for the past 17 years.

“Illinois’ low-income and blue-collar workers are among the worst paid in the Midwest,” Lucci said. “Without economic reforms to bring jobs into the state and allow businesses to succeed, many Illinois workers will be forced to look elsewhere to find good paying jobs.”

Additional information on Illinois’ job performance and wage comparisons to other Midwest states is available online here:

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