Unemployment rates are published monthly by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). The IDES numbers indicate that in March 2023, 4.4% of the overall Illinois labor force was unemployed. This number defines unemployed people who are actively seeking employment as a percentage of the overall nonfarm workforce.
Metro areas within Illinois posted March 2023 numbers this week in line with the overall statewide average. Centers of higher education, headed by Bloomington-Normal (3.4%) and Champaign-Urbana (3.6%) have jobless numbers in line with overall national prosperity. Traditional industrial regions, headed by Decatur (6.1%) and Rockford (6.7%), continue to have recession-level unemployment numbers which are much higher than Illinois and the U.S. as a whole.
The preliminary March 2023 figure marked a slight decline from the 4.5% unemployment rate notched in February 2023. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 7,900 during this period. The number of unemployed Illinois workers remained high, at 283,800. Many states that neighbor Illinois have significantly lower unemployment rates than Illinois, such as Indiana’s rate of 3.1%. The national unemployment rate was 3.5% in March 2023.