Illinois Unemployment Numbers Are Confounding

Illinois Unemployment Numbers Are Confounding

The January unemployment numbers for Illinois are out, and they’re hard to figure.

The unemployment rate is down to 8.7 percent, from 8.9 in December. Yet more people are looking for jobs, and 27,600 fewer are working.

Greg Rivara of the Illinois Department of Employment Security tries to explain these seemingly irreconcilable figures. “It does happen occasionally. It’s not very common, but the reason that it happens is the job numbers come from a survey from employers, and the employment numbers come from a survey from workers; sometimes they move in opposite directions,” he said.

Was the weather a factor? Not really; construction jobs were up by 2,900. Rivara says it’ll take some more results to put January in perspective.

The state has gained 21,000 jobs over the last year, with the unemployment rate falling by half a percentage point.





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