The Illinois unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent in August, while the state lost a net 8,200 jobs last month, the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) reported last week.
The state’s jobless rate decreased from 5.8 percent in July, largely because more people left the workforce. Illinois’ labor force shrunk .3 percent in August, though it grew 1 percent from one year ago, according to IDES.
“Illinois residents continue to drop out of the workforce at a concerning rate, driven out by the steady loss of jobs and anemic growth,” Sean McCarthy, acting director of the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, said in a news release. “If our state enacted the structural reforms necessary to get Illinois growing at the national rate, we could create 200 new jobs every day and put Illinois back to work. Instead, the state lost 8,200 jobs and nearly 20,000 people gave up looking for work.”
Illinois had a higher unemployment rate in August than the national figure of 4.9 percent.
The Illinois industry sector that added the most jobs in August was leisure and hospitality, which saw a 3,400 increase, followed by professional and business services at 2,000.
August job losses were the greatest in manufacturing, which lost 4,400 jobs. Financial activities and education and health services lost 2,600 and 1,900 jobs, respectively.
Illinois added a net 40,100 jobs over the past year, according to IDES.