Labor Market Information

The following are key types and sources of information regarding the labor market, available for those involved in the workforce development system.

Data Highlights: 

Two informative and accessible resources for labor market information and analysis, both nationally and statewide, are National Skills Coalition (NSC) and the Workforce Data Quality Campaign. One great report to start with from National Skills Coalition describes the demand of for middle skill jobs (requiring more than a high school degree) in Illinois. Another report from the Workforce Data Quality Campaign proposes recommendations for strengthening workforce development data that underlies funding, outcomes, and overall impact for job seekers.

Employment Projections 

Employment projections provide information about where jobs will be as the economy changes, as opposed to what a job will be like, which can be found through occupational overviews below


The Bureau of Labor Statistics produces national level employment projections, which serve as important estimates of expected labor market activity. Unlike State and Local projections, these data include salary information.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released their latest job update in October 2017; here are some of the key points:

  • The largest concentration of growth in the national job market is with home
    and personal care aides.
  • The median annual wage of a home health aide is $22,600. The median annual
    wage of a personal care aide is $21,920.
  • By 2026, the largest share of the labor force will be 55 and older.
  • Asian and Latino/a workers are projected to grow at a much faster rate than other
    groups of workers. By 2026, Latino/as will make up 20% of the labor force.


The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) produces Illinois Labor Market Projections (which do not include salary data). These projections are available for the  short-term (2016-18) or  long-term (2014-2024) and are organized by occupation or by industry. Here are some selected data sets:1Also available as spreadsheets from the IDES website.

State of Illinois Industry Employment Projections (click for full view)

Highlights worth noting: job postings have been steadily increasing, mostly in healthcare, sales, and IT. 


IDES Labor Market Projections are also available by Local Workforce Area (LWA) for the long-term (these data do not include salary information). See the local workforce area map to find your area’s LWA number. Here are projections for Cook County:2Also available as spreadsheets from the IDES website.

Real-Time Demand Trends

The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership produces reports on real-time demand trends in Chicago. Here are the most recent reports:

For more information on real-time labor market information read this comparison between real-time and traditional sources for labor market information from EMSI, Inc.

What is Labor Market Information (LMI) ?

Labor Market Information is made up of facts and estimates about occupations, industries, and the labor market as a whole. This information helps provide a clearer picture of the employment landscape. Labor Market Information is available from the Department of LaborCensus Bureau, as well as other sources. Real-time LMI includes data from these sources as well as online job postings. Here are some key reasons to follow labor market information:

  • As  a guide to the labor market
  • To help connect job seekers with in demand industries
  • LMI analysis is required for some funding streams
  • To inform strategic planning and program development

Occupational Overviews

Occupational Overviews explain what a job will be like, and offer a wide range of information, such as required training and education, required knowledge or skills, expected wages, and job titles and descriptions.


The United States Department of Labor provides national occupational overviews in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, and the O*NET website.


worknet career pageThe Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop site provides detailed career information for every state, including Industry Profiles, and Occupation Profiles.3You can also compare employment trends by occupation. Other Illinois career information tools are the Illinois Career Information System, and the Illinois workNet Careers, Wages & Trends page (pictured).


The Chicago-Cook Workforce Partnership provides Target Occupation Profiles of careers in select industries, such as Manufacturing and Transportation and Logistics.

In 2013, the Partnership changed its requirements regarding Individual Training Accounts based on an analysis of the region’s labor market. ITA vouchers can now only be utilized in one of seven target industries (as designated by the Partnership). These industries represent some of the strongest industries in the City of Chicago. See the listing of these target industries, as well as the specific occupations that fall within each one.


Assessments help identify the skills and interests that fit with different careers. They are helpful in working with job seekers, and getting a better picture of who they are and what work might be a good fit. However, an assessment does not offer an authoritative diagnosis. The best way to use assessments is to make them the starting point in an ongoing conversation with the job seeker, who is then given an opportunity to react to the results of a skill or interest assessment.

My Next Move is a free interest assessment that uses the Holland Code, which breaks interests into the following 6 categories:

  • Realistic (Doers)
  • Investigative (Thinkers)
  • Artistic (Creators)
  • Social (Helpers)
  • Enterprising (Persuaders)
  • Conventional (Organizers)

Skills are more difficult to self-assess. O*Net allows users to browse careers based on skills, and Career One-Stop allows users to search for careers based on a self-identified skills profile, but these are not exhaustive skills assessments. For more intensive skills assessments, explore the following resources:

To evaluate how skills from a current or former job may transfer well to another, visit My Skills My Future, and search for careers based on one with which the job seeker already has experience.

Low-Wage Employment

Every year, the Working Poor Families Project analyzes U.S. Census data to collect key indicators about working families in the United States that are below the poverty line. Among the data are key breakdowns of the economy by low-wage and poverty-wage jobs.4These figures come from the 2017 Working Poor Families Project, based on 2016 Census data unless otherwise noted. See more about this information on our Poverty page.5Working Poor Families Project, 2017, Chapter 4, Table 4.A.1a. Data from 2016.

As of 2015, 24.5% of Illinois jobs were in occupations with median annual pay below the poverty threshold for a family of four. This compares to 25.7% nationally. That means 24.5% of occupations in Illinois pay less than $24,250 a year. 6Working Poor Families Project, 2017, Chapter 3, Table 3.A.5a.

As of 2015, 63.6% of Illinois jobs are in occupations with median annual pay below 200% of poverty threshold. This compares to 67.5% nationally. That means 63.6% of jobs in Illinois pay less than $48,500 a year. 7Working Poor Families Project, 2017, Chapter 3, Table 3.A.5b.

See the graphics below for the total number of low-wage workers in Illinois as well as by race. 8Source: Working Poor Families Project, 2017, Chapter 4, Table 4.A.1a

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