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 recent reports from the National Skills Coalition highlight the importance of labor market information. First, is a report that helps state leaders compare the demand for skilled workers to the supply of those workers from various training programs. The second report comes from the Workforce Data Quality Campaign and explains the importance of quality information in helping to assess outcomes for graduates of workforce and education programs. It specifically focuses on possible improvements by DOL to the Wage Record Interchange System (WRIS).

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 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 (2013-2015) or  long-term (2012-2022); and are organized by occupation or by industry. Here are some selected data sets:1Also available as spreadsheets from the IDES website.


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.

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 2015 Working Poor Families Project, based on 2013 Census data unless otherwise noted. See more about this information on our Poverty page.

24.4% of Illinois jobs are in occupations with median annual pay below the poverty threshold. This compares to 25.6% nationally.5Working Poor Families Project, 2015, Chapter 3, Table 3.A.5a.
63.9% of Illinois jobs are in occupations with median annual pay below 200% of poverty threshold. This compares to 67.5% nationally. 6Working Poor Families Project, 2015, Chapter 3, Table 3.A.5b.
Almost 1 in 3 adult Illinois workers is in a low-wage job:7Working Poor Families Project, 2015, Chapter 4, Table 4.A.1a. Data from 2014, not 2013.

21.5% of workers age 25 and above are in low-wage jobs:8Working Poor Families Project, 2015, Chapter 4, Tables 4.A.1a and 4.A.1a2. Data from 2014, not 2013.

Most low-wage workers in Illinois are adults 25 or older, not teenagers:9Working Poor Families Project, 2015, Chapter 4, Tables 4.A.1a and 4.A.1a2. Data from 2014.

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