Local Employment Trends April 2016

Today, the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) released preliminary April 2016 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”).


  • Chicago’s labor force expanded (+37,604) from 1,354,088 in April 2015 to 1,391,692 in April 2016, suggesting that more residents are actively looking for work.
  • The number of employed Chicago (city) residents increased by +27,252 compared to the year prior, from 1,268,872 in April 2015 to an estimated 1,296,124 in April 2016.
  • Unemployed Chicago (city) residents increased by 10,352 compared to the year prior from 85,216 to an estimated 95,568 in April 2016.
  • The increase in the number of employed residents was not enough to offset the increase in the labor force, resulting in a preliminary unemployment rate of 6.9 percent before seasonal adjustment in the city of Chicago.

The following charts summarize monthly employment trends. Data is not seasonally adjusted.

 City Unemployed 052616

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

City Employed 052616


According to payroll job estimates from IDES, the Chicago (city) economy has expanded by an estimated 12,609 private jobs since April 2015, mostly attributed to educational and health services (+4,562), leisure and hospitality (+4,406), and retail trade (+2,975).

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

Note: At the beginning of each calendar year, the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) and Bureau of Labor Statistics Local Area Unemployment Statistics (BLS LAUS) programs revise up to five years of previous data to incorporate new inputs and population data. The data in this brief reflects the most recent revisions from BLS and IDES.
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