Construction propels job growth in majority of metro areas in February

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

Data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (DES) reveals a notable surge in total nonfarm jobs across 11 metropolitan areas, with significant contributions from the construction and mining sectors, for the year ending February 2024. However, the unemployment rate witnessed an uptick across all fourteen metropolitan areas during the same period.

Deputy Governor Andy Manar underscored the robustness of the Illinois labor market, emphasizing the widespread job increases across diverse industries. “Today’s data continues to highlight the health and expansion of the Illinois labor market, with increases in jobs throughout a multitude of industries touching every corner of the state,” stated Deputy Governor Manar. “As growth continues to supply jobseekers and employers with new opportunities, IDES and its workforce partners are positioned to assist both groups to thrive in the state’s economy.”

Leading the pack in over-the-year percentage increases in total nonfarm jobs were the Champaign-Urbana MSA (+3.2%, +3,900), the Elgin Metro Area (+2.1%, +5,300), and the Bloomington MSA (+1.4%, +1,400). The Chicago Metro Area, however, witnessed negligible change (0.0%, +1,400). Conversely, the Decatur MSA (-3.3%, -1,600), the Springfield MSA (-3.0%, -3,300), and the Davenport-Moline-Rock Island IA-IL MSA (-0.9%, -1,600) experienced declines in total nonfarm jobs.

Industries such as Government (thirteen areas), Mining and Construction, and Education and Health Services (ten areas each) played pivotal roles in driving job growth across most metro areas. Additionally, Wholesale Trade and Other Services sectors witnessed expansion in eight areas each.

The rise in unemployment rates was particularly notable in the Chicago Metro (+0.8 point to 5.1%), the Decatur MSA (+0.5 point to 6.4%), and the Illinois section of St. Louis MSA (+0.5 point to 4.6%).

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