The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released preliminary March 2012 unemployment figures for the 50 states (and Washington, DC), as well as 4 Census Regions and 9 Census Divisions. Unemployment rates in the Midwest, Illinois and the Chicago metro division all decreased from last month, and the Midwest posted the lowest rate (7.4%) among the major Census regions for the fourth consecutive month.
There were an estimated 353,000 unemployed residents of a labor force of 4.07 million in the 8-county Chicago Metro Division, for a seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 8.7% – lower than the rate of 9.4% one year ago and also down from 8.9% in February 2012 – marking the sixth consecutive month-over-month rate decline.
The following chart summarizes the trend in monthly unemployment rates for Illinois, the Midwest Region, and the East North Central and Chicago metropolitan divisions, while the map illustrates the geographic range and concentration of state unemployment rates. (Note: all figures cited below are seasonally adjusted. Information reflects model reestimation and new seasonal adjustment. March 2012 values for Illinois and the Chicago metropolitan division are preliminary).
Monthly Unemployment Rate
Seasonally Adjusted, March 2011-March 2012(p)
Unemployment Rates by State, March 2012(p)
U.S. Rate = 8.2 percent
Source: US Dept of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics
Chicago-Joliet-Naperville Metropolitan Division
(includes 8 IL counties: Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, McHenry, Will; excludes Lake County)
• The decrease in the number of unemployed from 363,960 in February to 352,960 in March, coupled with a slightly smaller labor force, resulted in a preliminary unemployment rate of 8.7% (lower than the March 2011 rate of 9.4% and the February 2012 rate of 8.9).
• The number of unemployed decreased by 17,156 from 598,396 in February to a preliminary figure of 581,240 in March, resulting in an unemployment rate of 8.8% – lower than the prior year’s and prior month’s rate.
East North Central Division
(includes 5 states: IL, IN, MI, OH, WI)
• Decrease in the number of unemployed (-45,911) somewhat offset by an increase in the labor force (+15,653) resulted in a decrease in the unemployment rate from 8.3% in February to 8.1% in March.
(includes 12 states: IL, IN, MI, OH, WI, IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD)
• The unemployment rate decreased to 7.4% in March from 7.5% in February – the Northeast and South regions also experienced decreases, while the West remained the same.
• Lower rate than the West (9.6%), South (7.8%), and Northeast (7.9%).
The full press release can be found on the BLS website.