Illinois adds jobs, Chicago employment market sees growth

As the year comes to a close and fiscal cliff implications threaten to cause trouble for the country in the new year, many are still holding out hope for an improved jobs market in 2013. It's with reasonable optimism that so many are looking to next year through rose-colored glasses. That's because new employment numbers for Illinois and Chicago signal a cap to a strong year in jobs for the state, city and recruiting agencies that helped businesses find the talent they needed.

Unemployment down more than 1 percent from 2011
According to a new report by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), November was a banner month for the state in terms of jobs growth. The state added more than 16,400 jobs in November, the single biggest monthly total for all of 2012, IDES said. Additionally, the agency found unemployment had fallen to 8.7 percent. While the number is still higher than the national average of 7.7 percent, it represents a 1.1 percent drop from 9.8 percent in November 2011.

However, the pitfalls to jobs growth presented by the fiscal cliff cannot be ignored, IDES Director Jay Rowell said.

"November's job growth is encouraging because it reinforces the trend of positive economic momentum," Rowell said. "The most immediate threat to that momentum is the fiscal cliff. If Congress does not work together to craft a solution, our economic progress will slow and we will risk another recession."

Professional and business services, manufacturing lead the way
Overall, IDES identified professional and business services and manufacturing as key drivers of the continued increase in state employment, the former added some 84,800 jobs in November, the latter, 45,100 positions. IDES said not only did manufacturing and professional services contribute the most to the monthly total, but were the two strongest sectors for jobs growth for 2012 thus far.

That notion was further reinforced by Crain's Chicago Business after it analyzed federal data and found professional and business services and manufacturing were among the leading job contributors to Chicago employment for the year.

Comparing data from November 2011 to October 2012, Crain's found employment for professional and business services had increased 4.2 percent on the year, and manufacturing increased 2.6 percent. These results lead to both being named "winners" of the Chicago employment economy in 2012.

As employers in the state and the city continue to add jobs at an encouraging pace, other businesses will follow suit. Talent will be at a premium, and companies that work with manufacturing recruiters can improve their chances at landing the most skilled labor in an increasingly competitive market.