Local Employment Trends May 2016

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


  • The city of Chicago posted a preliminary unemployment rate of 6.1% in May 2016 before seasonal adjustment – this is down 0.5 percentage points from the May 2015 rate.
  • Unemployed Chicago (city) residents decreased by 5,828 compared to the year prior from 89,614 in May 2015 to an estimated 83,786 in May 2016.
  • Chicago’s labor force expanded (+19,062) from 1,365,515 in May 2015 to 1,384,577 in May 2016, suggesting that more residents are actively looking for work.
  • The number of employed Chicago (city) residents increased by 24,890 compared to the year prior, from 1,275,901 in May 2015 to an estimated 1,300,791 in May 2016.
The following charts summarize monthly employment trends. Data is not seasonally adjusted.
  City Unemployed 062316
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 062316


According to payroll job estimates from IDES, the Chicago (city) economy has expanded by an estimated 9,650 private jobs since May 2015, mostly attributed to leisure and hospitality (+3,956), retail trade (+2,992), and educational and health services (+1,865).

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

ChicagoJobsIndustry 062316
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