For the first time in 10 years, the Illinois unemployment rate has dropped down below 5 percent.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security said unemployment dropped to 4.9 percent in March. However, the state is still 19,600 jobs short of its all-time peak in September 2000.
“Illinois payrolls weakened in March, just like they did for the nation,” said IDES Director Jeff Mays. “The usual pattern is that Illinois weakens more than the nation but grows less than the national average when both are on the upswing. This persistent lag in job growth explains why it took 10 years to push the unemployment rate below 5 percent.”
Leisure and Hospitality, Other Services, and Trade, Transportation and Utilities were the job sectors with the most gains. The largest declines were seen in construction, professional and business services and government.