Rockford, IL – December 2023 Jobs Report – Steady Gains Amid National Wobble

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Rockford’s December 2023 jobs report paints a picture of resilience, defying national trends of slowing job growth. The city added 200 new nonfarm jobs, solidifying a positive year-end total of 1,640 positions gained. This stands in contrast to the national decrease in nonfarm payroll employment reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), offering a beacon of hope for the city’s economic prospects.


  • Positive job growth: December saw a healthy gain of 200 jobs, bringing the year-end total to 1,640 new positions.
  • Unemployment rate dips: Rockford’s unemployment rate held steady at 5.2%, remaining lower than the national average of 3.5%.
  • Wage growth moderates: Average weekly earnings increased by 3.1% year-over-year, reflecting a slower growth rate compared to previous months.

What Industries and Occupations Grew:

  • Healthcare & Social Assistance: Added 80 jobs, driven by demand for nurses, aides, and other medical professionals.
  • Professional & Business Services: Gained 40 jobs, showcasing growth in areas like accounting, legal services, and marketing.
  • Trade, Transportation & Utilities: Increased by 30 jobs, mainly due to expansion in logistics and transportation sectors.
  • Fastest-growing occupations: Physician assistants, nurse practitioners, home health aides, and social workers saw significant job gains.

What Industries and Occupations Shrank:

  • Retail Trade: Lost 20 jobs, mirroring national trends impacted by online shopping and evolving consumer habits.
  • Leisure & Hospitality: Declined by 10 jobs, primarily seasonal adjustments after the holiday rush.
  • Manufacturing: Remained stagnant, raising concerns about potential future declines in this historically important sector for Rockford.

Compare to Same Month Last Year:

  • Job growth in December 2023 surpassed December 2022, which added 100 positions.
  • The unemployment rate was slightly lower in December 2023 compared to 5.4% in December 2022.
  • Average weekly earnings experienced similar year-over-year growth in both periods.

Compare to Previous Month:

  • December 2023 saw a slight decrease in job gains compared to November 2023, which added 210 positions.
  • The unemployment rate remained unchanged from November 2023.
  • Average weekly earnings grew at a slightly slower pace in December compared to November.

Future Outlook:

While Rockford’s job market appears robust, potential national economic headwinds could pose challenges. Continued focus on attracting and retaining businesses in key sectors like healthcare, manufacturing, and logistics, alongside strategic investments in workforce development initiatives, will be crucial for sustained growth. Additionally, addressing potential decline in the manufacturing sector through diversification efforts will be important for a resilient economic future.

10 Growing Occupations:

  1. Physician Assistants
  2. Nurse Practitioners
  3. Home Health Aides
  4. Social Workers
  5. Registered Nurses
  6. Software Developers and Application Developers
  7. Marketing Specialists
  8. Accountants and Auditors
  9. Financial Analysts
  10. Teachers

10 Companies Hiring Now:

  1. Crusader Community Health
  2. OSF Healthcare System
  3. Woodward Governor Company
  4. Rockford Public Schools
  5. City of Rockford
  6. SwedishAmerican Health System
  7. Amazon
  8. Walmart
  9. Lowe’s Companies, Inc.
  10. Home Depot