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Jobless rate in Illinois falls for sixth straight month in February

Illinois State Police northern recruiter Sgt. Jose DeJesus of Chicago shakes hands with Ryal Deveau of Waukegan during a job fair for veterans held at the Gurnee American Legion. Deveau served in the U.S. Navy and Army. | Thomas Delany~ Sun-Times Media

The unemployment rate in Illinois fell to 9.1 percent in February from 9.4 percent in January, the sixth straight monthly decline, the Illinois Department of Employment Security said Thursday.

The rate fell from 9.3 percent in February 2011, and the state added 32,000 jobs year-over-year. Some 6,500 jobs were added since January.

“February’s jobs number is another positive sign in Illinois’ economic recovery,” IDES Director Jay Rowell said in a statement. “Illinois continues its steady economic growth fueled by monthly increases in job creation and falling unemployment rates.”

As is typically the case, the state’s rate exceeds the nation’s 8.3 percent rate.

The biggest job gains in Illinois since January were in construction, up 6,000; manufacturing, up 2,600; and professional and business services and leisure and hospitality, both up 2,000.

The biggest job losses were in trade, transportation and utilities, down 5,800; information, down 1,400; and government, down 1,200.

The biggest increases since February 2011 were in professional and business services, up 25,800; manufacturing, up 12,600; and educational and health services, up 8,100.

The biggest declines year-over-year were in government, down 10,600; construction, down 4,200; and other services down 3,500.