Illinois unemployment holds at 9.5 percent

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Chicago (AP) -- Unemployment held steady in Illinois in March at 9.5 percent with 629,000 people looking for work.

 

State Department of Employment Security Director Jay Rowell said Thursday that the high unemployment rate reflects continued economic struggles in U.S. and abroad.

 

March figures for other U.S. states aren't yet available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the 9.5 percent rate in February meant that Illinois had higher unemployment than all but three states. Officials said at the time that the state's jobless rate was climbing as job seekers who'd given up their searches started looking again.

 

The department said Thursday that Illinois lost a net 17,800 jobs in March. The trade, transportation and utilities sector lost 9,000 jobs and leisure and professional and business services firms shed 5,800 jobs.

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