The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate rose to 4.3 percent in December and nonfarm payrolls increased by +13,600 jobs over-the-month, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The November jobs gain was revised upward from the preliminary report (from +5,900 jobs to +8,000 jobs). Job growth was stronger during the October to December period posting an average monthly change of +9,500 jobs, an improvement over the prior month when the three-month average change was +5,500 jobs. In December, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were: Government (+6,300), Leisure and Hospitality (+4,600) and Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+2,800). The industry sectors with payroll declines were: Information (-1,000) Financial Activities (-700) and Construction (-600. Over-the-year, nonfarm payroll employment increased by +71,000 jobs with the largest gains in these industry sectors in December: Government (+24,700); Education and Health Services (+11,200) and Leisure and Hospitality (+10,200). The industry sectors with over-the-year declines were: Information (-3,900) and Other Services (-300). Illinois nonfarm payrolls were up +1.2 percent over-the-year as compared to the nation’s +1.8 percent over-the-year gain in December. The state’s unemployment rate is +0.4 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for December 2018, which rose to 3.9 percent. The Illinois unemployment rate is down -0.6 percentage points from a year ago when it was 4.9 percent. The number of unemployed workers increased +1.3 percent from the prior month to 277,500 but down -12.2 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force was about unchanged over-the-month and over-the-year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and are seeking employment.