By PETER HANCOCK
Capitol News Illinois
SPRINGFIELD – The unemployment rate in Illinois climbed one-tenth of a point to 4.4 percent in March as the state recorded a net loss of 2,300 jobs, the Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday.
According to preliminary, seasonally-adjusted numbers, the biggest job losses occurred in the professional and business services sector, which lost 4,200 jobs, transportation and utilities, which shed 3,000 jobs, and the construction industry, where employment was down by 1,600 jobs.
Those losses were partially offset by job gains in manufacturing, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and other services.
Meanwhile, the number of people counted as unemployed in March grew 1.1 percent from February, to 284,400. That was 1.3 percent higher than in March 2018.
Nationally, the U.S. economy added 196,000 jobs in March, while the nation’s unemployment rate held steady at 3.8 percent.
Despite the overall loss of jobs in Illinois, IDES said the state still saw a net gain in employment for the thee-month period from January through March. And the total job count for Illinois in March was up by 47,400 compared to a year ago.
“This administration has begun the hard work of restoring fiscal sanity to our state so that we can build a thriving economy for all Illinoisans,” Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes said about the numbers in a news release.
Erin Guthrie, acting director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, said Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration is working to turn the state’s job market around.
“Governor Pritzker has made training and preparing the workforce for the jobs of tomorrow a priority, and I am excited to work with him on achieving that goal,” she said in a statement.