Illinois Jobs Pulse: Where the Jobs Are – Summer 2015

Whether you’re a job seeker or an employer, knowing where the jobs are in Illinois can help you determine your employment strategy. We’ve compiled some of the most current statistics to understand who’s hiring and which industries have the most competitive job markets.

Here is some recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor on job growth in Illinois (seasonally adjusted):

12-month percentage change in jobs by industry (2015)

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May
Total (nonfarming) workforce 1.2% 1.4% 1.2% 1.1% 1.1%
Mining & Logging 3.1% 3.1% -1.0% -2.0% -4.0%
Construction 5.8% 6.9% 8.4% 7.1% 6.9%
Manufacturing 0.1% -0.2% -0.4% -0.7% -1.3%
Trade, Transportation, Utilities 0.8% 1.6% 1.7% 1.4% 0.9%
Information 0.7% 0.0% -0.1% -0.9% -0.8
Financial Activities -0.6% -0.2% -0.6% -1.0% -1.4%
Professional & Business Services 2.2% 2.3% 2.0% 2.6% 3.0%
Education & Health 1.9% 1.7% 1.6% 1.6% 1.7%
Leisure & Hospitality 1.5% 1.9% 1.4% 1.0% 1.4%
Other Services 0.1% 0.3% -0.7% -0.5% 0.0%
Government 0.2% 0.3% 0.1% -0.1% 0.1%

The scoop: Overall, the economy in Illinois is growing steadily, which is good for everyone because it means more business and more jobs. However, the story varies across industries.

Industries growing at the fastest rates so far this year include construction and professional and business services. Construction in particular is growing substantially faster than any other industry.

Industries in decline include manufacturing, information, and financial activities. Manufacturing and financial activities are declining at increasing rates each month.

Other industries are either stable or growing slowly and steadily.

What it means: If you’re a worker in a declining industry, don’t quit your job unless you have something else lined up. Otherwise you may be unemployed for quite a while, unless your skills are transferable to a different industry. For example, if you leave a job in manufacturing, you may have more opportunities in construction. If you leave a job in financial activities, opportunities may lie in professional and business services.

If you are looking for a new career path, consider one of the steadily growing industries to ensure future job security. Education and health as well as trade, transportation and utilities are promising fields for current job seekers. Employers will be competing for good workers, so you may be able to be more selective about where you work.

If you are an employer in a declining industry, it’s a good market for you as there will be competition for the positions you have. You should have a good selection of the top talent.

If you are an employer in a growing industry, remember that the positions you offer are in a job seeker’s market. In order to attract and retain top talent, you need to offer competitive compensation and benefits.