Chicago Area Employment — November 2016

Chicago Area Employment — November 2016

Local Rate of Employment Growth Below National Average

Total nonfarm employment for the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Ill.-Ind.-Wis. Metropolitan Statistical Area stood at 4,698,000 in November 2016, up 37,900, or 0.8 percent, over the year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. During the same period, the national job count increased 1.6 percent. Assistant Commissioner for Regional Operations Charlene Peiffer noted that the Chicago metropolitan area has had over-the-year employment increases each month since October 2010. (See chart 1 and table 1; the Technical Note at the end of this release contains metropolitan area definitions. All data in this release are not seasonally adjusted; accordingly, over-the-year analysis is used throughout.)

The Chicago metropolitan area is made up of four metropolitan divisions—separately identifiable employment centers within the larger metropolitan area. The Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights Metropolitan Division, which accounted for 80 percent of the area’s workforce, added 26,400 jobs from November a year ago. Employment in the Gary, Ind. Metropolitan Division increased by 4,900, while employment in the Elgin, Ill. Metropolitan Division and the Lake County-Kenosha County, Ill.-Wis. Metropolitan Division grew by 3,600 and 3,000, respectively, over the year.

Industry employment

In the greater Chicago metropolitan area, professional and business services had the largest employment gain from November 2015 to November 2016, adding 23,200 jobs. The Chicago area’s 2.9-percent growth in professional and business services employment matched the nationwide increase. While all four divisions added jobs in this supersector over the year, the Elgin division had the fastest rate of job growth, at 9.2 percent. (See chart 2.)

Leisure and hospitality employment increased by 12,100 since November 2015, the second-largest gain in the Chicago area. Local employment growth in the supersector was concentrated in the Chicago division which added 12,600 jobs. The local rate of job growth, at 2.7 percent, was greater than the national advance of 1.9 percent.

Three other supersectors in the Chicago area each gained 3,000 or more jobs since last November—construction (+4,000), trade, transportation, and utilities (+3,300), and government (+3,000). The 2.3-percent local rate of job growth in construction was similar to the nationwide increase of 2.4 percent. The Chicago area’s 0.3-percent growth in trade, transportation, and utilities employment was less than the nationwide increase of 1.2 percent. The local rate of job gain in government was 0.5 percent compared to the national increase of 1.0 percent.

In contrast, three supersectors in the Chicago area lost more than 1,000 jobs each since last November—financial activities (-6,500), information (-3,300), and manufacturing (-1,900). Nationally, the financial activities and information supersectors added jobs. The local rate of job loss in manufacturing, down 0.5 percent, was similar to the 0.4-percent job loss rate for the nation. In Chicago, the manufacturing supersector has had over-the-year employment decreases each month since June 2016.

Employment in the 12 largest metropolitan areas

Chicago was 1 of the nation’s 12 largest metropolitan statistical areas in November 2016. All 12 areas experienced over-the-year job growth during the period, with the rates of growth in 7 areas exceeding the national average of 1.6 percent. The fastest rate of job growth was in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, 3.3 percent, followed by Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell at 2.6 percent. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land had the slowest rate of job growth, up 0.5 percent. (See chart 3 and table 2.)

The New York-Newark-Jersey City area added the largest number of jobs, 117,300, since November 2015. The Dallas and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim areas also added over 100,000 jobs each. Houston had the smallest employment gain, adding 16,100 jobs over the 12-month period.

Two supersectors accounted for most of the job growth in the 12 largest areas. Professional and business services added the most jobs in five areas—Atlanta, Chicago, Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, and Washington-Arlington-Alexandria. Education and health services added the most jobs in five other areas—Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward.

Manufacturing had the largest over-the-year loss of jobs in four areas—Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Metropolitan area employment data for December 2016 are scheduled to be released on Tuesday, January 24, 2017.


Technical Note

This release presents nonfarm payroll employment estimates from the Current Employment Statistics (CES) program. The CES survey is a Federal-State cooperative endeavor between State employment security agencies and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Definitions. Employment data refer to persons on establishment payrolls who receive pay for any part of the pay period which includes the 12th of the month. Persons are counted at their place of work rather than at their place of residence; those appearing on more than one payroll are counted on each payroll. Industries are classified on the basis of their principal activity in accordance with the 2012 version of the North American Industry Classification System.

Method of estimation. The employment data are estimated using a "link relative" technique in which a ratio (link relative) of current-month employment to that of the previous month is computed from a sample of establishments reporting for both months. The estimates of employment for the current month are obtained by multiplying the estimates for the previous month by these ratios. Small-domain models are used as the official estimators for approximately 39 percent of CES published series which have insufficient sample for direct sample-based estimates.

Annual revisions. Employment estimates are adjusted annually to a complete count of jobs, called benchmarks, derived principally from tax reports which are submitted by employers who are covered under state unemployment insurance (UI) laws. The benchmark information is used to adjust the monthly estimates between the new benchmark and the preceding one and also to establish the level of employment for the new benchmark month. Thus, the benchmarking process establishes the level of employment, and the sample is used to measure the month-to-month changes in the level for the subsequent months.

Reliability of the estimates. The estimates presented in this release are based on sample survey and administrative data and thus are subject to sampling and other types of errors. Sampling error is a measure of sampling variability—that is, variation that occurs by chance because a sample rather than the entire population is surveyed. Survey data are also subject to nonsampling errors, such as those which can be introduced into the data collection and processing operations. Estimates not directly derived from sample surveys are subject to additional errors resulting from the special estimation processes used. The sums of individual items may not always equal the totals shown in the same tables because of rounding.

Employment estimates. Measures of sampling error are available for metropolitan areas or metropolitan divisions upon request. Measures of sampling error for states down to the supersector level are available on the BLS website at Information on recent benchmark revisions is available online at

Area definitions. The substate area data published in this release reflect the delineations issued by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget on February 28, 2013. A detailed list of the geographic definitions is available at

The Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Ill.-Ind.-Wis. Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties in Illinois; Jasper, Lake, Newton, and Porter Counties in Indiana; and Kenosha County in Wisconsin.

  • The Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, Ill. Metropolitan Division (MD) includes Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kendall, McHenry, and Will Counties in Illinois.
  • The Elgin, Ill. Metropolitan Division (MD) includes DeKalb and Kane Counties.
  • The Lake County-Kenosha County, Ill.-Wis. Metropolitan Division (MD) includes Lake County in Illinois and Kenosha County in Wisconsin.
  • The Gary, Ind. Metropolitan Division (MD) includes Jasper, Lake, Newton, and Porter Counties in Indiana.