This morning, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released preliminary February 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 February, an estimated 323,794 people in the 14-county Chicago metropolitan statistical area (MSA) were unemployed out of a labor force of approximately 4.859 million, resulting in a preliminary unemployment rate of 6.7% (not seasonally adjusted).

  • The February unemployment rate was substantially lower than the same month in 2014 (8.8%).
  • Between February 2014 and February 2015, the Chicago MSA gained an estimated 67,720 employed residents, increasing total regional employment to approximately 4.536 million (not seasonally adjusted).
  • Unemployment rates were lower in February than a year earlier in 366 of the
    387 U.S. metros, 18 metros saw a year-over-year increase, and 3 experienced no change.


Note: BLS is currently updating their methodology for seasonal adjustment, therefore not seasonally adjusted data will be used until seasonally adjusted data is available again. Because the data is not seasonally adjusted it should only be compared year-over-year. All data is preliminary and revisions are ongoing with a scheduled completion date of April 21, 2015. February 2015 data reflects revised metropolitan area delineations that were issued by the Office of Management and Budget in 2013. 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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