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Local Employment Trends January 2016

Today, the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) released preliminary January 2016 and revised* historic data on unemployment rates for municipalities across the state based on the current population survey (or “household survey”). The following brief summarizes this data, as well as IDES’ job estimates by industry based on the Current Employment Statistics Program (or “employer survey”).


  • The city of Chicago posted a preliminary unemployment rate of 7.0% before seasonal adjustment – this is a decrease from the January 2015 rate of 7.3%.
  • Unemployed Chicago (city) residents decreased by 4,245 compared to the year prior (from 99,378 to an estimated 95,133 in January 2016).
  • The number of employed Chicago (city) residents increased by 5,940 compared to the year prior (from 1,353,902 in January 2015 to an estimated 1,359,842 in January 2016).
The charts below summarize monthly employment trends. Data is not seasonally adjusted.

CityUnemp 031716

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

CityEmploy 031716

Note: At the beginning of each calendar year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program revises up to five years of previous data to incorporate new inputs and population data. The data in this brief reflects the LAUS revisions completed on March 17, 2016. Revisions for 2011-2014 data will be completed on April 12, 2016. For more information about these annual revisions, please visit the BLS website and the IDES website.


According to revised** payroll job estimates from IDES, the Chicago (city) economy has expanded by an estimated 20,499 private jobs since January 2015, mostly attributed to leisure and hospitality (+6,823), educational and health services (+4,997) industries and retail trade (+3,746). Revised** annual averages suggest the city of Chicago added 24,960 private jobs from 2014-2015, marking the best job growth in both absolute and percentage terms since 2009.

The table below compares year-over-year change in job estimates by industry for the city of Chicago. Data is not seasonally adjusted.

ChicagoJobsIndustry 031716

**Note: Each year the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) benchmarks payroll estimates to universal counts derived primarily from unemployment insurance tax reports. Statewide, this year’s revisions revealed that nonfarm payrolls grew by +88,000 in 2014 rather than +66,800 and jobs grew by +49,600 in 2015 rather than declining by 3,000. For more information visit the IDES website.

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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