Today, the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) released preliminary December 2016 labor market estimates for municipalities across the state. This economic brief summarizes these estimates, which are based on two different surveys:
  • The Current Population Survey (or “household survey”), which collects monthly employment data from U.S. households.
  • The Current Employment Statistics Survey (or “employer survey”), which collects monthly jobs and industry data from private employers.


  • Chicago’s unemployment rate declined slightly from 6.0 in December 2015 to 5.9 in December 2016
  • The number of employed Chicago (city) residents increased by 2,959 compared to the year prior, from 1,277,016 in December 2015 to an estimated 1,279,975 in December 2016.
  • Unemployed Chicago (city) residents decreased by 1,912 compared to the year prior, from 81,814 in December 2015 to an estimated 79,902 in December 2016.
The following charts summarize monthly employment trends. Data is not seasonally adjusted.

Note: Rates are not adjusted for seasonality, and should be compared year-over-year. City selection based on size and availability of data.


According to payroll job estimates from IDES, private sector employers located in the city of Chicago have added an estimated 14,581 jobs since December 2015. The largest gains were in the leisure and hospitality (+6,523), transportation, warehousing and utilities (+4,155), and professional and business services (+3,132) sectors.

The following table summarizes private employer payroll estimates. Data is not seasonally adjusted.

Jobs by Industry

City of Chicago (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

  Dec-2015 Dec-2016 Change
Total Private 1,218,592 1,233,173 14,581
Leisure and Hospitality 135,425 141,948 6,523
Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities 75,397 79,552 4,155
Professional and Business Services 284,425 287,557 3,132
Retail Trade 103,795 105,688 1,893
Wholesale trade 46,298 47,161 863
Information 35,168 35,547 379
Manufacturing 61,332 61,552 220
Financial Activities 130,465 130,474 9
Natural Resources and Mining 258 246 -12
Educational and Health Services 249,749 249,693 -56
Construction 29,379 28,433 -946
Other Services 66,902 65,322 -1,580
 Source: Illinois Department of Employment Security


World Business Chicago is a public-private, non-profit partnership that drives inclusive economic growth and job creation, supports business, and promotes Chicago as a leading global city. 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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