This morning, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released preliminary April 2012 unemployment rates for all Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) as well as select municipalities. The unemployment rate measures the percentage of the local workforce that reports itself as being out of work, information that the government collects by surveying households.
- In April, an estimated 425,286 people in the Chicago metro area were unemployed out of a labor force of approximately 4.85 million (an increase of 1,880 over March), resulting in a preliminary unemployment rate of 8.8% (seasonally adjusted). The April rate was unchanged from last month and down from April 2011 (9.6%).
- Nonfarm employment, a separate measure based on data collected directly from employers about the number of employees they are responsible for, suggests the Chicago MSA added 51,500 nonfarm employees between March 2012 and April 2012, bringing total nonfarm employment to approximately 4.31 million.
- 217 of the 380 U.S metros (including Puerto Rico) experienced a decrease in the unemployment rate from March 2012 to April 2012 after seasonal adjustment; 78 metros saw an over-the-month increase, and 85 experienced no change (including Chicago).
- In addition to the regional BLS data, city unemployment figures were adjusted for seasonality (refer to footnote) using the U.S. Census Bureau's X-12 Arima software. Estimates resulting from this analysis suggest that in April, the city of Chicago’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 10.3 from 10.2 in March. This marks the second consecutive month that the city showed an increase – after 7 straight months of decreases dating back to July 2011. Despite this rise, unemployment is down from April 2011’s rate of 10.9.
Note: Figures are seasonally adjusted. All are preliminary and subject to revision with the next BLS data release on 6/27/12. With the release of preliminary April 2011 data, state and area nonfarm employment estimates incorporate net business birth/death adjustment factors estimated on a quarterly basis, replacing the previous practice of estimating the factors annually. This allows the state and area nonfarm employment estimates to incorporate information from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages into the net birth/death adjustment factors as soon as it becomes available and thereby improve the factors. The city of Chicago unemployment rate was seasonally adjusted by WBC staff using non-seasonally adjusted BLS estimates and the U.S. Census Bureau's X-12 ARIMA software.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (LAUS and CPS), Illinois Department of Employment Security