July 2015 Jobs Report: Chicago Unemployment Drops

The seasonally adjusted Chicago unemployment rate was 5.8 percent in July, down from 6.8 percent this time last year, according to the most recent monthly jobs report. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, Chicago lost 12,200 jobs in July.

Statewide, the monthly jobs report puts the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Illinois at 5.8 percent in July. This is down 0.9 percentage points from this time last year, but still 0.5 percentage points higher than the national average. Since June, the state gained 1,900 jobs, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Let’s see what these numbers mean for employers looking to staff Chicago jobs.

Marilyn Bird, district president with Robert Half, says that in spite of July’s unemployment drop in Chicago jobs, employers are still having a difficult time finding candidates to staff open positions. One challenge, stemming from increased competition among companies for the best talent, is a more limited pool of job seekers. Bird notes, “In-demand candidates will often have more than one tempting offer in front of them. To avoid losing top talent to the competition, employers need to streamline their recruitment processes.” According to Bird, employers may also need to be flexible regarding candidates’ skills and experience. “Being willing to provide training on the job in certain areas can grow your available talent pool significantly,” she says.

Additionally, the fact that candidates are considering multiple offers means that employers need to be prepared for salary negotiations. Benchmark the starting salaries you propose against national averages to ensure you’re offering potential hires fair market value, and you can avoid common salary negotiation mistakes. “And don’t forget to sweeten the pot,” Bird says, referring to perks and incentives like telecommuting options, flexible scheduling, professional development and signing bonuses.

How have you adjusted your hiring plans to adapt to the declining Chicago unemployment rate? Let us know in the comments.

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