The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced today that the unemployment rate decreased -0.3 percentage point to 7.4 percent, while nonfarm payrolls were up +21,100 jobs in February, based on preliminary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and released by IDES. The January monthly change in payrolls was revised from the preliminary report, rising from +9,700 to +23,200 jobs. The January unemployment rate was unchanged from the preliminary report, remaining at 7.7 percent. The February payroll jobs estimate and unemployment rate reflects activity for the week including the 12th. The BLS has published FAQs for the February payroll jobs and the unemployment rate. In February, the three industry sectors with the largest over-the-month gains in employment were: Leisure and Hospitality (+32,300), Trade, Transportation and Utilities (+2,400) and Information (+700). The industry sectors that reported the largest monthly payroll declines were: Construction (-5,600), Professional and Business Services (-4,500) and Government (-2,200). The state’s unemployment rate was +1.2 percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate reported for February, which was 6.2 percent, down -0.1 percentage point from the previous month. The Illinois unemployment rate was up +3.8 percentage points from a year ago when it was 3.6 percent. Compared to a year ago, nonfarm payroll employment decreased by -461,200 jobs, with losses across all major industries. The industry groups with the largest jobs decreases were: Leisure and Hospitality (-185,700), Educational and Health Services (-62,900) and Government (-54,100). Illinois nonfarm payrolls were down -7.5 percent over-the-year as compared to the nation’s -6.2 percent over-the-year decline in February. The number of unemployed workers fell from the prior month, a -4.0 percent decrease to 454,200, and was up +100.6 percent over the same month for the prior year. The labor force was down -0.1 percent over-the-month and down -3.4 percent over-the-year. The unemployment rate identifies those individuals who are out of work and seeking employment. An individual who exhausts or is ineligible for benefits is still reflected in the unemployment rate if they actively seek work. In May 2020, Governor Pritzker launched Get Hired Illinois, a new one-stop-shop website to help connect job seekers with hiring employers in real time. The site features virtual job fairs, no-cost virtual training, and includes Illinois Job Link (IJL), the state’s largest job search engine, which recently showed 41,390 posted resumes with 107,162 available jobs.