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Illinois unemployment rose to 9 percent in January

Updated: March 7, 2013 4:49PM



The unemployment rate in Illinois rose to 9 percent in January, up from 8.7 percent in December and back to almost the 9.1 percent rate of January 2012, the state Department of Employment Security said Thursday.

The agency said the increase is due to more people looking for work.

“The increase in the unemployment rate is not surprising,” said IDES spokesman Greg Rivara. “It was pretty much expected. You’ve got a bigger labor pool.”

And that could be viewed as positive, according to Geoffrey Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois.

“The coincidence of job growth and increasing unemployment rates ... may be viewed in some ways as a sign that many more people are becoming optimistic about securing a job,” he said.

The number of unemployed people in the state rose by 4 percent to 594,800. The state added a relatively small 7,100 jobs in January.

The biggest job losses were among companies in the trade, transportation and utilities sector where the state lost a net 5,500 jobs in January from February. Government agencies also shed a net 1,500 jobs. Educational and health services employers added 5,500 jobs, and financial activities added 2,200.

Year-over-year, the sector reporting the biggest job losses was construction, down 9,800. The only other sectors that lost workers were the government sector, down 2,400; and information, down 800.

The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in January. That was slightly higher than December.

Contributing: AP



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