This morning, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released preliminary March 2015 unemployment rates for all Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). The unemployment rate measures the percentage of the local workforce that reports itself as being out of work, information that the government collects by surveying households.

Illustrated in the map and chart below, in March, an estimated 311,644 people in the 14-county Chicago metropolitan statistical area (MSA) were unemployed out of a labor force of approximately 4.852 million, resulting in a preliminary unemployment rate of 6.4% (not seasonally adjusted).

  • The March 2015 unemployment rate was substantially lower than March 2014 (8.1%).
  • Between March 2014 and March 2015, the Chicago MSA gained an estimated 33,931 employed residents, increasing total regional employment to approximately 4.540 million (not seasonally adjusted).

Unemployment rates were lower in March than a year earlier in 358 of 387 U.S. metros, 28 metros saw a year-over-year increase, and 1 experienced no change.

Metro UnemploymentMar2015


ChiMetroUnemp 042915


Note: BLS is currently updating their methodology for seasonal adjustment, therefore not seasonally adjusted data will be used until seasonally adjusted data is available. Because the data is not seasonally adjusted it should only be compared year-over-year. Current and historic data reflects data revisions completed on April 21, 2015. For more information about these revisions please visit the BLS website.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (LAUS and CPS)

Chaired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, World Business Chicago is the public-private partnership leading the Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs in order to drive business development, cultivate talent, and put Chicago at the forefront of the global economy.

WBC’s “Economic Briefs” track indicators from month to month to gauge the strength of several aspects of Chicago’s economy, including unemployment, population, venture capital, job openings and new hires, home sales, tourism, etc. This data provides a clear analytic framework for specific Plan strategies and initiatives. For a summary of these and other economic indicators, refer to WBC’s monthly Chicago By The Numbers.  

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